Heaven ravished: or A glorious prize, atchieved by an heroicall enterprize: as it was lately presented in a sermon to the honourable House of Commons, at their solemn fast, May 29. 1644. By Henry Hall, B.D. late fellow of Trin. Coll. in Cambridge. Printed by order of the said House.
Hall, Henry, B.D.
Page  1

MATTH. 11.12.
And from the dayes of John the Baptist untill now, the Kingdom of the heavens suffereth vio∣lence, and the violent take it by force.

THis Text is not entire of it self, but linked in ne∣cessary connexion with that which went before, for clearing whereof we may borrow light at the next doore: If we please to go back a little and take the advantage of a run, the coherence will shew that our Saviour having in the former chap∣tr chosen the 12. Apostles, and sent them out to Preach in the Cities of Jury, here in the beginning of this he goes himself about the same errand, to preach the Gospell in the Cities of Galilee, for so the current of Interpretors carrieth the sence of those words,*vers. 1. He departed thence to Teach and to Preach in their Cities, re∣ferring it to the Apostles who were all or most of them of Galilee. The promulgation of the glad tydings of the Kingdom of heaven, now ready to be revealed, it was a matter of that grand importance and generall concernment unto all, that our Saviour thought fit to disperse himself and his Apostles severall wayes, that all the Cities and parts of the land might with more convenience be summo∣ned to take notice of it.

John the Baptist, he had indeed awakened the people as with the sound of a Trumpet, and stirred them up to a generall expectation of the Messias his comming, but yet many of them remained in suspence, and were not so well satisfied about the person of the Messias, whether John himself or Jesus was He, as appeares Luk.Page  2 3.15. This scruple was necessary to be cleared, and therefore John being cast into prison, and now neere unto his Martyrdom, he dis∣patcheth out two of his Disciples in an Embassy unto Christ, to know of him whether he was 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that grand Redeemer of Irael, so much desired and so long expected, or whether they should look for some other, vers. 2.3.

*It was not out of any doubt that John himself had (as some An∣cients have thought) that he sent unto Christ this message, for the Oracle from heaven had satisfied him in this, and He others, John 1.32, 33. &c. But it was out of a pious desire to imform and settle his Disciples who were not yet so well resolved in that matter, as Chrysostom and other Interpreters Ancient and Modern have ob∣served.* Our Saviour therefore having at that time, as appeares by another paralell place, wrought sundry miracles in healing the sick, clensing the Lepers, raising the dead, he returnes this answer, vers. 4, 5, 6. Go and shew unto Iohn what things you have heard and seen, implying fairely, that such divine words and works, carried light and conviction enough along with them, to bewray the Author of them, and that he were little other than a miracle of unbeleef, whom such great wonders and miracles could not move.

Hereupon the Disciples of Iohn being sent away with their an∣swer, he turnes his speech to the multitude, and gives out a large and ample testimony unto Iohn, commending him greatly for his personall vertues, and his High Office, and the singular effect and fruit thereof, vers. 7, 8, 9, 10 11, 12.

First, for his personall vertues he was a man of a grave spirit, of a constant and wel-setled Judgment, not wavering and reeling to and fro, like a reede shaken with the wind in which is no stedfastnesse; for howsoever the people might haply think by occasion of this message,* that Iohn after his imprisonment might change his minde and not retaine the same opinion of Christ which he had before, yet our Saviour cleares him from any umbrage of such a suspition by that quaere which he puts forth to the multitude, vers. 7. What went ye out into the wildernesse to see? intimating that they could not in reason suppose that Camell-hayred Prophet, haunting the Wil∣dernesse, to be such a fickle, humorous, and desultory temporizer as those smooth silken Chaplains are wont to be, that are in the Courts and Palaces of Princes.

2. He extolls his Office and Function, he being not onely a Pro∣phet Page  3 but much more then a Prophet, v. 9. The ancient Prophets they saw Christ a far off but Iohn saw him face to face; they fore-shewed his comming, but Iohn was his harbinger and immediate fore-runner, that pointed him out with his singer, saying, this is he, in which respect our Saviour rankes him above the chiefe of Pro∣phets, and makes him the greatest meere man that ever was born of a woman, and yet withall gives a prerogative of excellencie to the meanest Officer in the Kingdom of heaven above him, vers. 11. which must not be understood of inherent holinesse or personall grace (for in that respect the ordinary ministers of the Gospell are much inferiour unto Iohn) but it is to be interpreted of their more honourable Office and Function, in which they go beyond Iohn, and excell him as far as he did the former Prophets, it being a re∣ceived maxim,* that he that is least in a greater Order, is greater than the greatest of a lesser Order; as in the Schools, he that hath pro∣ceeded a master in the Arts, though but an Inceptor and of the la∣test Edition, is above the highest Batchelours; and the meanest Knight above the greatest Esquire.

3. But the principall commendation of Iohn and the fairest flower in all his garland is taken from the singular effect and force of his ministery, it being not dull and sluggish, but lively and powerfull in operation upon the consciences of men, and crowned with a more then ordinary successe and fruit, and that is presented unto us in the Text now in hand; From the dayes of John the Baptist untill now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violnce, &c.

The words then hold out unto us a glorious Spectacle, a goodly sight well worth the beholding, and that is the Kingdom of hea∣ven ravished; or if you will here's a Noble prize atchieved by an honourable and heroicall enterprize, together with the condition and successe of the enterprizers, and the period and date of all this.

1. The Noble prize to be atchieved is the Kingdom of Heaven. 2. The honourable and heroicall enterprize is to invade and seize upon this Kingdom. 3. The condition and quality of the enter∣prizers, they are not remisse and slack, but eager and violent. 4. The Issue and successe of the enterprizers, they prevaile in their design and take the Kingdom by force. 5. The period or date from which this violence begins, and how long it continues, from the dayes of Iohn the Baptist untill now. Johns ministery was but of a few dayes and of a short continuance, but he kindled in that short time such Page  4 a light of knowledge, and such a flame of affection in the hearts of men, as no opposition could put out, but it continued like the mor∣ning star, still blazing and glowing more and more till Christ came the Sun of righteousnesse, and he with his Apostles was so far from quenching the smoaking flax, that taking the Lamp out of Johns hands, he blew it up to a greater height, and made it burn more cleer and bright.

And from Christs time to the end of the world, wheresoever the Gospell is preached, which is the ministery of the Spirit, discove∣ring glorious things in the Kingdom of heaven, and working mighty impressions upon the consciences of men by meanes of such discoveries, there will be violence offered and resolute at∣tempts and enterprizes taken in hand, for the atchieving and com∣passing of those glorious things.

These are the parts of this Text, all fraught with precious and choyce materialls; I shall endeavour first 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to top these sheaves and to beat out the meaning of the severall parts, and then we shall the better come to reape from them such fruits of Instru∣ction as they will afford.

I begin with the first particular propounded, The glorious prize here held out, which is the Kingdom of heaven; and to omit the various use of the notion (if yet it be taken at all in a various use) for I rather hold with the Judicious Cameron, that it imports al∣wayes one and the same thing,* even the Kingdom of Christ the me∣diator over the Church and people of the New Testament, with the preaching of the Gospell and the other Ordinances of Evan∣gelicall and Christian worship which properly belong there∣unto.

There is first a Kingdom of power and providence which Christ hath, as God over all the world; Angels, and men, and devils, be∣ing put in subjection under him, and of this the Prophet speakes, Psal. 102. v. 19. The Lord hath prepared his Throne in heaven, and his Kingdom ruleth over all, this is not meant here.

2. There is a Kingdom of Grace, which Christ as Mediator ex∣ercised in a more especiall and peculiar manner, over the Church and Common-wealth of the Jewes, before the time of his Incar∣nation and comming into the world; for even the Jewes as well as we,* were unto God a Kingdom of Priests and an holy Nation, Exod. 19.5. and the Lord was their King, Judge, and Lawgiver, Page  5Esay 33.22. and Salomon, after David his Father, is said to raign over Israel sitting upon the thron of Jah, 1 Chron. 29 23. and hence as one of the Ancients * well observes out of Josephus, The Poli∣tick State and form of Government among the Jewes, It was nei∣ther a Monarchy, nor an Aristocracy, nor a Democracy, but a Theo∣cracy or Divine Government, the Son of God being in that Com∣mon-wealth Commander in Chief, and ordering all things therein according to his own will.

Christ therefore reigned over the Jewes as mediator many hun∣dreds of yeeres before he was born of the Virgin Mother, the Kingdom and government even then was upon his shoulders, yet you shall never finde throughout all the whol Scripture, that State and manner of Christs Raign over the Church of the Old Testa∣ment called The Kingdom of Heaven, and the principall reason seemes to be this, because the whol policy and form of it, was Typicall and Ceremoniall, all things being carried then in clouds and shadows and mysticall prefigurations of good things to come, the truth and substance whereof was not yet exhibited and re∣vealed.

Hence the Apostle shuns not to call the Jewish Tabernacle, a worldly Sanctuary, Heb. 9.1. and their Ordinances and rites of Worship, carnall Ordinances, imposed onely untill the time of reformation, vers. 10. the like censure he is bold to passe upon their sacrifices and offerings, They were only patterns and * figures of things in the heavens, and not the heavenly things themselves, vers. 23. the people also were in comparison of the Christian Church, a carnall people, and the whole oeconomy and frame of their Religion, worship, and government, was to be shaken and removed, as with an earth-quake, at Christs comming, Heb. 2.27. * therefore that pollicy and ceremoniall forme of Church admini∣stration, was not fit to be called by so high and glorious a Title, The Kingdom of heaven.

But now in the dayes and by the ministery of John the Baptist the Leviticall Paedagogie, with all the carnall rudiments and um∣brages of it, began to wax old, and to weare out of date; another manner of Church State much more spirituall, entring then up∣on the Stage and comming in by degrees in the roome of it, which therefore in the New Testament is commonly called, The Kingdom of heaven.*

Page  6The mother place in Scripture from which this notion was de∣rived is Dan. 2.44. In the dayes of those Kings the God of heaven shall set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed, &c. this passage Aben-Ezra and the Jewish Rabbins do generally interpret, as Ca∣meron observes, of the Messias his Kingdom, which they were wont to call 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the Kingdome of heaven. * The denomination is not taken as is commonly thought, from the subject or place of residence, but from the efficient rather, for with them in their Dialect, the Kingdom of the Messias, or Son of God, and the Kingdom of the heavens are termes of promiscuous use as they are also in Scripture, compare Mat. 70.7. with Luke 10.9. and you shall finde that which in the former place is called the Kingdom of heaven, in the latter is the Kingdom of God, the difference in the thing it self being none at all, but onely in the sound of words.

But now this Evangelicall state of the Christian Church, called the Kingdom of heaven, it is either Militant or Triumphant, the State of Grace or the State of Glory, which for kinde and nature are both one, and differ but onely in degrees; for the State of grace what is it else but glory begun: the way to the Kingdom is not without some first fruits of the Kingdom, saith *Bernard. And the State of glory on the other side, what is it else but grace fully perfect and consummate. It is the former of these which is here principally meant, to wit, the Militant Estate of the Christian Church, in which men are brought to live under the gracious and milde government of Christ; their minds being inlightned, guided, and powerfully moved and over-ruled. 1. To repent of all their sins, and then, 2. To accept of the pardon and remission of them in such sort as it is offered in the tenor of the New Covenant. 3. To render back as a Tribute of thankfulnesse a free, cheerfull, universall and constant obedience to all the revealed Will of God.

The next thing to be cleered is how this Kingdom may be said to suffer violence? And here Interpretors varie, I shall give a touch of their severall descantings. It may be the very discords will help to make the Musick better and the harmony more pleasing; the sum of all or most of the tendries I have met with, is reducible to these three heads. The violence here spoken of may be taken either as it is opposed, 1. To Natures, 2. To Just and right, or 3. As it is opposed to temper and moderation.

Page  7First it may be taken as opposed to that which is according to Nature: the Philosophers are wont to distinguish of motion thus,* That it is either naturall or violent; naturall motion springs from naturall principles, and tends to naturall objects and ends, but the motion, saith Hierome of these enterprizers was not such, but vio∣lent and strained in respect of its principles, object, and end. It was in all these beyond the spheare and compasse of nature: those that were by nature born men of an elementary constitution, being upon the matter little other then mushromes sprung out of the earth, were transported with a more then generous affectation to become Angels, and their ambition was so transcendent and super∣naturall that nothing could satisfie them under heaven, and this see∣med to be such an extream violence against the common course and strain of nature; as if fishes should affect to leave their watery Element to live in the earth, or as if Camels, and Elephants should strive to leave the earth, and go live and swim in the Sea.

2. But this Interpretation it self is judged by some to be too much forced and violent, and therefore Ambrose and Hillary take violence here, as opposed to just and right.* We are wont you know to call them violent who invade and seize upon that by force, which they have no good right nor title unto, as theeves and rob∣ters do by the high way In like manner the Gentiles, say these Authors, who had no right unto the Kingdom of Heaven (for they were strangers from the Common-wealth of Israell, aliens from the Covenants of promise, without God and without hope in the world) yet they came thronging and crowding in howsoever: whether they had any good tenure or no quo jure quaque Injuriâ, they came according to our Saviours prediction, from the East and from the West, and from the North, and from the South, and sea∣ted themselves in the Kingdome of God, whiles the Jewes which were the children of the Kingdom were cast out of doores, Luk. 13.28.29. Rapuit Ecclesia regnum, a Synagogue saith Ambrose, the Jewes being Abrahams children thought this kingdom to be an inheri∣tance due unto them onely, in respect of their lineall descent and propagation from their Ancestors, but the Gentiles came by force and shouldered them out, and took all their Ancient rights and Priviledges from them. This exposition carries smoothnesse and concinnity enough with it, and might well be admitted were it not that it antedates a little too soone the conversion of the Gen∣tiles Page  8 who sprung not in with such violence nor in such numbers and multitudes▪ till after the dayes of Iohn the Baptist in whose time yet this violence began.

*3. Therefore the more received, and as I think the more judici∣ous interpretation of this violence here takes it as opposed to tem∣per and moderation, for so in moralls we account them violent who are not dull and sluggish, but earnest and serious in their work, warm and zealous in their pursuite, impetuous and resolute in their undertakings, and such was the disposition of many people in Johns dayes, they were so bent and set upon the Kingdom of heaven, that no difficulties or discouragements could take them off, they would have a share whatsoever it cost them. As Souldiers when they lye before a besieged City, they set to their long ladders and Scale the walls, and when they are got in they flye upon the spoyl, and seize upon what ever comes next to hand; so was the course of these violent ones. The Kingdom of heaven was no sooner opened, but they sprung in and took hold of this glorious prize, and carried all away before them with maine force.

But there is yet another Interpretation of this place given by Melancton, which though it lye a little out of the common rode, and is not much, nor so far as I can finde, at all taken notice of by others, yet it seemes to me very considerable and worthy of due re∣gard, as well as any of the former: the sum of his notion, to give you an account of it in a word,* it is grounded upon the proper signification and common use of the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 which in all sorts of Authors is for the most part taken in the active, and but seldom and very sparingly in the passive, and if you please thus to take it here, the sense will run cleer and smooth to this effect, from the dayes of John the Baptist untill now, regnum caelorum vi ingruit vi irrumpit, the kingdom of heaven breakes in by force. As the sun though it may be over-cast with a dark cloud, yet the beames of it will at last break out, or as a mighty violent flood or winter torrent, though it meete with many obstructions to dam up its course, yet it will burst through and flow over them; so the king∣dom of heaven howsoever there were oppositions raised to ob∣struct the passages and proceedings of it, yet it violently rushed in bearing down all resistance, removing all rubs, and raigning over all impediments that lay in the way of it.

This Exposition hath nothing forced nor strained in it, it agreeth Page  9 well with that native force and common use of the word, and there is another paralell place Luk. 16.16. which much favoureth this sence, From the dayes of Iohn the Baptist untill now, the King∣dom of heaven is preached, and every one presseth into it: the word is the same there and here, and I know no reason of any force why the Active signification of it may not be admitted here as well as there, the places being parallell, its probable enough that one and the same line of Interpretation may serve them both.

Besides the currant use of the word in this sense among other Authors, the Septuagint as far as I can finde, takes it alwayes thus;* to wave other places for the present, that in Exod. 19.24 is full and punctuall for this, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Let not the Priests and people break through to come up unto God; and the next clause to the Text (for the Law and the Prophets were untill Iohn) fairely admits, if not requires this con∣struction; his Ministry being the common bound-stone betwixt the Jewish and the Christian Church, the limits from which the Law and the Prophets took their conclusion, and the Gospell and Kingdome of Christ its commencement and inauguration.

However because I delight not to to recede from the beaten tract, unlesse it be upon urgent necessity, therefore choose whether sence you please, the difference will not be materiall in respect of the observations arising hence, which before I enter upon, there is yet one thing more to be explained in a word or two, and that is, Why from the dayes of John the Baptist this Kingdome of the heavens doth thus violently come in, or if you relish the former notion bet∣ter, Why it suffered such violence in his dayes more then in former times.

The Reasons are 1. Because the Law and the Prophets were in force untill those dayes, and then upon the expiring of that dis∣pensation, Johns ministery, with the Gospell and Kingdome of Christ, like time and the motion of the heavens took beginning to∣gether at one and the same instant; therefore the Evangelist hath coupled them both together, Mar. 1.1, 2, 3. and S. Peter hath done the like, Act. 10.37. The Word you know which was published through all Judea, beginning at Galilee, after the Baptisme which John Preached. Iohns Ministery it was you see preparatory and intro∣ductive unto Christ, the whole designe of his Preaching and Bap∣tisme was to discover Christ, and to make him manifest unto Page  10Israel, Iohn 1.31. His preaching being in the Spirit and power of Elias tended unto this, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord, Luke 1.17. and his Baptisme being a summons to repentance for the remission of sins, Mar. 1.4. did manifestly pre-ingage the peo∣ple to beleeve in him that should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus, Acts 19.4. Now the gospell being preached, which is the word of the Kingdom, it never returnes back without successe, but like a draw-net when it is let down, some or other are caught and converted unto Christ by it.

*2. Johns ministery was mighty and powerfull, above the pro∣portion of former times: the people lived under shadowes and dark clouds before, which cast forth but little light and yeelded lesse heate, their hearts were as cold and frozen as yee, under the Ministery of the Pharisees and Scribes, but Iohn was a burning and shining light, Ioh. 5.35. His Doctrin and conversation kindled a light of knowledge and an heat of zeal in the hearts and consci∣ences of men, which drew them to Christ with much violence.

3. When Iohn had once begun this course, soone after, our Sa∣viour with his twelve Apostles and 70. Disciples came after him advancing and carrying on the work to a greater height and pro∣gresse, and look how far Iohns ministery excelled all that went be∣fore, so far did the ministery of our Saviour and his followers ex∣cell and go beyond him, both in respect of a more cleer manife∣station of glorious truths, and also in respect of a more forcible operation upon the consciences of men.

And now having rubbed out these eares of Corne, come we in the next place to reap from them such fruits of instruction as they will afford; the points arising hence are foure. 1. That the Church and people of the New Testament, is the Kingdom of heaven. 2. Where it pleaseth God to raise up choyce and pr••ious Instruments to Prech the Gospell (as he did here) there the Kingdom of Christ will forcibly come in, and numbers will as forcibly presse and throng into it, though there be never so much opposition against it. 3. Those that would have a share in this Kingdome, they must not be dull and remisse, but ear∣nest and violent in their pursuit. 4. All those, and onely those, which are thus earnest and violent, shall prevaile in their design, and carry the prize which they are so eager for.

For the first of these, That the Church and people of the New Te∣stament, is the Kingdom of heaven; This is coucht in the Text and Page  11 implyed onely as a ground, and therefore to insist upon it at large would be a little impertinent. I shall therefore hint you to some reasons for this manner of denomination and so passe it over.

First, therefore the Church of the New Testament is called The Kingdom of heaven, because in the Church, and in it onely the * Hea∣vens govern and that not onely in a generall way of power and providence, for so is all the world under that government: Ne∣buchadnzzr when he had been schooled by grazing 7. yeeres a∣mong the bruits, he came to see this cleerly, that the heavens do rule, Dan. 4.26. But the Church is under the rule and government of the heavens in another manner then the world is. God raignes o∣ver the world onely in a Providenciall way, ordering and dispo∣sing all things according to his secret Councell; but he raignes over the Church according to his own hearts desire, by the Scepter of his Word and Spirit: looke upon which you will, of all the States and Governments in the world, even those that are most exactly ordered according to the rules of Civill Policy, Justice and pru∣dence, and you shall finde that they are but men at the best, and often worse then men, beasts and sometimes worse than beasts, devils that beare all the rule and carry all the stroak.

The foure great Monarchies which have been so glorious in the world, would you know what Emblem the Holy Scripture sets them forth by Dan. 7.17. They are foure great beasts which arise out of the Earth, and to the last beast of this litter, the worst of all the former, though in outward respects the most glorious, the Dra∣gon resigned his power, and his Throne and great authority, Rev. 13.2. S. Augustin is in the right for this Magna Regna, Magna ltroima, the great Kingdomes of the world, what are they else in plain English but Tabernacles of Robbers, dens of Lyons, and mountaines of Leopars, Job 12.6. Cant. 4.8. Copernicus his con∣ceit is here no paradox, the earth mooves and the heavens are at a stand, the Wisdome, the Councell, the Policy, and Interests of the Earth, turne all the spheares, move all the Engins, and do all in all; but the Wisdome, the Councell, the Policie and Interests of heaven stand still, and strike never a stroke, carries no sway at all. But in the Church its otherwise, there the Lord alone raignes in a peculiar manner, and his Will is done in earth as it is in heaven, &c. that is the princiall reason, others are of inferiour remark which I shall briefly glyde over.

Page  122. The Church is the kingdom of heaven, because the Prince that commands there, is the Lord from heaven, *The stone cut out of the mountaine without hands; heavenly, in respect of his extraction and originall, as being sprung from the bosome of his Father, by an eter∣nall and ineffable generation; and from the womb of his Mother by a Divine and miraculous conception, without any concurrence or help of man; and heavenly to, in respect of his Inauguration and entrance into his Kingdome, which was neither by popular Ele∣ction, which course he declined John 6.15. nor by succession, for his Kingdome rests solely in his own hands, and never did nor can passe from predecessour to successor; nor yet by conquest or force of Armes as other Princes enter. Christ waved all these wayes, and came into his Throne by an Ordinance from heaven, Dan. 7.13.14. When Peter drew his sword he commanded him to put it up, For my Kingdome (saith he) is not of this world, its in this world, but not of this world, the prime source and originall of it is not from hence, John 18.36.

3. The first planting, establishing, and the continuall advance∣ment and propagation of this Kingdome, proceeds not from any councell, policy, or strength of the world, but from the Wisedome and Power of God. It is God alone, and no other, That plants the heavens, and layes the foundation of the Earth, and saith unto Sion, Thou art my people, Esay 5.16. As they say of Thebes, That it was built by the sound of Amphious harpe, so its true much more of the Church and Kingdome of God, it was built by the Fishermen of Galilee, and not any other way, but onely by the preaching of the Gospell, Micah 7.11. In the day that thy walls shall be built the D∣cree shall be far removed,* which Piscator Interprets thus, longe lati{que} propagalitur Evangelium; the Gospell shall be propaged far and wide all the world over.

4. In respect of the Subjects who are not of this world, but se∣vered and separated from it. 1. By an heavenly Election, They are the Congregation of the first born, whose names are enrolled in heaven, Heb. 12 23. And 2. They are taken and bought from the earth, by a speciall work of Redemption, out of every Country, and Kindred, and People, and Nation, Revel. 59. and cap. 14.3, 4.3. They are singled out from others by a powerfull conversion, upon which ground they are saluted, Holy brethren partakers of the heavenly cal∣ling, Heb. 3.1. And 4. Their trading and traffique is not for the Page  13 things of this world, but their conversation is in heaven, Phil. 3 20.5. Their inheritance and portion is not in the earth, for here they are but strangers and pilgrims out of their own Country, but they have an inheritance immortall,*undefiled reserved in the heavens for them, 1 Pet. 1.4. In these and divers other respects the Saints which are members of the Church, though they live in the earth, yet they are accounted in Scripture, the Citizens and Inhabitants of heaven.

5. The Lawes and Ordinances which the Church is governed by, are all extracts taken from an heavenly originall,* copies and draughts derived from the Pattern in the Mount, as Moses Taber∣nacle, and Solomons Temple, were 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The Church of God, saith Nazianzen, which is the inferiour Ta∣bernacle and House of God here below, it is in all its institutions, rites, and Ordnances, commensurable to its pattern and prototipe for the heavenly Tabernacle which is above.

6. The Acts and administrations of the Church, if they be such as they should be, divine and Spirituall, they sent not of the earth, breathe not of the world, but the whole savour and rellish of them is heavenly; when the Word is Preached, it is not the Wisdome and Spirit of man, but the Lord from heaven that speakes, Heb. 12.25. Mat. 10.20. And the Apostle tels us likewise, that when men Prophecy, there is such a demonstration of divine power, that un∣beleevers comming in are convinced by it, saying, God is in you of a truth, 1 Cor. 14.25. The like may be sayd of prayer, its the Spi∣rit that must frame every request, and indite every Petition, if it be according to Gods Will, Rom. 8 27. So the execution of Church censures, and generally all Church administrations they are not such as they should be, if they carry not with them a certaine perfume as it were, or odor of heaven.

This may suffice for the first point, I defer the Use of it till I have done with the next; which is this, Where the Lord raiseth up choyce Instruments to Preach the Gospell, as he did here in the dayes of Iohn and of our Saviour, there the Kingdom of heaven comes in amaire, and multitudes take hold of it. For the proof of this, see the truth of it in cleer predictions and prophecies, foretelling that it should be so, Esay 2.1, 2, 3. It shall come to passe in the latter dayes, that the Mountaine of the Lords house shall be lifted up (not onely on the Mount Marlah at Jerusalem) but on the top of the Mountaines, and Page  14 all nations (not the Jews only shall flow unto it; but how shall this be brought about) the Law of the Lord shall go out of Sion, and the Word of the Lord out of Jerusalem, and then he shall rule among the Nations. If the Gospell be preached, the Kingdome of God will advance and get ground among all the Nations of the world.

The like Prophecy we have Psal. 110.2.3. When Christ sends out his Gospell, which is that rod of his power, out of Sion, he will then be ruler in the midst of his enemies,*In the day when he sends out his Armies (to wit of Apostles and Prophets) His people shall be a willing people, or as some Interpretors turn it, they shall be all vo∣luntiers in the beauty of his holinesse, and the dew of his youth (that is, the multitudes of children that shall be born unto him) shall be as numerous as drops of dew in a spring or summers morning.

2. See the reall performances and accomplishment of these Pro∣phecies. In the first dawning of the Gospell, when the state of the Jewish Church was exceeding corrupt, even then by the preaching of Iohn great numbers of people came over unto Christ, and by Solemn Baptisme took the oath of allegeance unto him, Mat. 3.5, 6. And the Ministery of Christ and his Apostles was yet more effectuall, their diligence was such, that they went through every Ci∣ty and Village preaching and shewing the glad tydings of the Kingdome of God, Luk 8.1. And the people flocked after them in such multi∣tudes that they trode one upon another; Luke 12.1. And they were so eager and violent for the Kingdom of God, that they came by break of day to seek Christ in the desert and they layd hold of him that he should not depart from them, Luk. 4.42. And the successe of those endeavours was such, that Satan fell from heaven like light∣ning, Luke 10.18.

All this came to passe whiles the Gospell and Kingdom of Christ was yet peno as it were in a corner, & confined only to the Jews; but after that Christ was once by his Ascention lifted up unto hea∣ven,*then he drew all men after him, John 12.32. then was fulfilled, and not before as some learned conceive, that prediction of our Saviour Mat. 16.28, Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, that shall not taste of death till they have seen the Kingdome of God come with power. The Kingdom of God came with power when the Holy Ghost came down like a mighty rushing wind, and shooke the place where the Apostles were on the day of Pentecost gathered together, Act. 2.2. This violent rushing wind, was an Emblem of the great Page  15 power of the Gospell which shooke the foundations of Sathans Kingdom, and overthrew all his strong holds, demolished Idols,* subdued all the learning, policy, and power of the world, and captivated all Nations to the obedience of faith. The Jewes had most of them a strong prejudice against Christ, yet S. Peter with his Fishrs net came over them and caught 3000. of them at one draught, Act. 2.41. The Samaritans had for a long time been held under the power of Sathan by the Inchantments and Sorceries of Simon the Conjurer, but the Gospell comming among them, those Magick Spells lost their force, and were un-witched by a more po∣tnt and effectuall charm, Act. 8.12. Its recorded there, That when they beleeved the things that were spoken by Philip concerning the king∣dome of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ, they were Baptized both men and women: When the Word is Preached, its as possible to keepe down the Sun from rising, as to hinder Christ from getting up into his Kingdom.

But how comes the empty breath of a few weak and despised men to be so effectuall and prevalent?

The Reasons are, 1. This is the Institution and Ordinance of God, which therefore must needs be mighty and powerfull,* to bring about the end it was appointed for: this was the sole Apo∣stolicke Weapon whereby they subdued all the world to the Scep∣ter of Christ, 2 Cor. 10 4.5. It is not the bare sound of the Word, but the concurrence of God with his own Ordinance that did give it such life and successe every where, Mark 16. ult. As the woman of Tekoah was subtile, because the hand of Ioab was with her, so the Preaching of the Apostles was powerfull because the hand of the Lord was with them, Act. 11.21 Zabarell gives this ac∣count why heate being but a meere accident is yet the cause of all nutrition; It is not as it is a bare quality,* but as the Instrument of the Soule. And if any aske, How the Preaching of the Gospell workes such rare effects, it being so weak and contemptible a thing, the answer is, Non ut sonus sed ut instrumentum dei, not as it is a sound, but as the Instrument of God; there was never any man more excellently accomplished, or more diligent in this great work, then the Apostle S. Paul, he carried the Word of the King∣dom and set up the Scepter of Christ, well neere to the third part of the know world, Yet I dare not speak, saith he, of any thing which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient by word Page  16 and deed, through the mighty power of the Spirit of God, Rom. 15.19, 20.

2. In the Gospel there is a discovery of great and glorious things, which objectively and morally work upon the apprehensions of men. All objects make impressions upon the hearts of men accor∣ding as the worth and excellency, the use and necessity of them is more or lesse apprehended, every man is drawn by that which ap∣peares best for him in his own judgment: As a sheepe may be led along with a green bow, so may an Epicure with pleasures, an ambitious man with a baite of honour, and covetous men with a bribe,* a martiall man with feats of Armes, and every man with that which carries the greatest stroke with him, and which he hath the greatest apprehention of. In like manner doth it fall out here; the great things propounded in the Gospell, when they are seene and understood according to their own worth, they attract the heart and ravish the affections; the Arminians say, That the Word preached,* workes upon the understanding irresistibly; in the Elect no doubt it doth so, when the houre is come which God hath ap∣pointed, and when there is an impression of light set on irresistably upon the minde, the will and affections are alwayes in a due pro∣portion, equally moved and stirred as the hinder wheeles in a coach are with the former, and when both the understanding is conque∣red, and the will caught, and the affections ravished, what then can hinder men from comming into the Kingdome of Christ. If the Pharisees by taking away the key of knowledge, debarred men of entrance into the Kingdome of God, Mat. 23.13. Luke 11.52. Surely then the preaching of the Gospell, and the dispensation of the mysteries of it, being the right use of the Keyes of knowledge, must needs be a meanes to give people admission and entrance into that Kingdom.

3. In the Preaching of the Gospell there is not onely a bare Proposition and discovery of glorious things to whet up and pro∣voke the affections of men, but there is an offer and tendry of them upon the easiest and freest termes; as if the Lord were weary of his Kingdome, and would gladly make it over unto men, he of∣fers it for nothing, requires nothing but acceptance and thankes; more than this, he intreats and woo's and sollicites men, yea he im∣portunes and urges, and in a manner offers violence unto them, to make them plyant and tractable to their own happinesse. Page  17 As Lot urged the Angels and offered violence to them to come and lodge with him,*Gen. 19.3. and Jacob in like manner was urgent with his brother to accept his present, Gen. 33.11. and the Levites father-in-law would needs with much importunity heape kind∣nesse upon him; so the Lord he seemes with a loving violence to obtrude, as it were, his Kingdom upon men,* and to presse it upon them with such eagernesse of affection, as if he knew not how to be happy without them. When the guests that were invited to the marriage Supper of the Kings Son, refused the offer, Go, saith he, into the high wayes and hedges and Market places, and bring in the blinde, and the lame, and the halt, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Luke 14.23. compell them to enter in, that is, use all your uttermost endeavours to allure and draw them, try all conclusions by perswasions, pro∣mises, threats, to work upon them.* As Lot when he lingred in Sodom, and was loth to depart; the Angells layd hold on him and pluckt him out: so the Lord would have his servants to enforce as it were, and hale men into his Kingdom, that they might be saved; not that he doth in proper speech constrain or enforce the will; for that agrees not with its nature, it being a rational faculty which cannot be compelled, but the Lord drawes it with a sweet and li∣berall 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 a loving and gentle violence, a pleasing & power∣full necessity, which in effect is all one with those cords of a man and bands of love which the Prophet speakes of, Hosea 11.4. and when men are thus drawn its no marvell if they come and offer vio∣lence to the Kingdom of heaven, when it hath first offered such vio∣lence to them.

4. The Gospell and Kingdom of Christ is of an increasing and growing nature, it spreads like a leaven, Mat. 13.33. growes like a graine of mustard seed, ver. 31. It got first into families, then it crept next into Cities, afterwards it advanced into whole Provin∣ces, Countries, Common-wealths, that little stone that was cut out of the mountaine without hands, figured the Kingdome of Christ which will break in pieces all other Kingdomes, and grow into a great mountaine filling the whole earth, Deut. 2.34, 35.

5. And that which is yet more observable, this Kingdom of Christ it growes by its losses, thrives by its decayes, prospers by its oppo∣sitions: it is in this like unto a bed of Cammomill, the more its trodden down the more it gets up, and riseth; the old rule here if ever holds true, Punitis ingeniis gliscit it authoritas, opposition makes Page  18 the Gospell it self,* and those that bring it, gather strength and win the more Authority: when the Apostle was cast into prison, the Word of the Lord was not bound, howsoever the Adversaries thought to stop the proceedings of the Gospell by that course, yet it tended rather to the enlarging and propagation thereof, Phil. 1.11, 12. Lo here how bonds and fetters helped forward the happy spreading and progresse of Christs Kingdome; opposition at Je∣rusalem, made it get footing in Rome the Imperiall City; and not onely so, but even grow famous too in Caesars Palace, the Apostle tooke notice else-where, of a great doore and effectuall, which was opened unto him, when yet there were many adversaries, 1 Cor. 16.9. which plainly imports great successe in despight of great resi∣stance; when the Dragon lay in waite to devoure the Churches man-childe as soone as it was borne, he was frustrate of his hopes, notwithstanding all his rage, the childe was caught up to the Throne of God, Revel. 12.5. So in Dioclesians time, when there was set up an Edict in the Market place for the utter extirpation of Chri∣stianity, the whol world soon after turned Christian.

*See then how great and singular a blessing it is which God af∣fords unto any people, when he raiseth up store of precious and choyce Instruments to Preach the Gospell among them. Howso∣ever we may haply despise the day of small things, and make but slight account of such a mercy, yet it is a favour certainely of as much worth in the intendment and consequence of it, as the king∣dome of heaven amounts unto. Its a sign that God is comming to Keep his Court of residence, where he sends out harbingers to take up roomes and to prepare lodging and entertainment for him. When Saviours come upon mount Sion, the next newes is this, That the Kingdom is the Lords,*Obad. v. 21. God abates nothing to a peo∣ple of the height of his favours when he vouchsafes unto them this mercy, Jer. 3.14, 15. Its promised as a speciall token and pledge of Gods matrimoniall love, Return unto me ye back-sliding children, for I am married unto you; how doth that appeare? I will give you Pastors according to my own heart, which shall feede you with know∣ledge and understanding; and would you know of what conse∣quence that is, vers. 17. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the Throne of the Lord: the Lord Raignes to be sure, and hath a Throne where he is pleased to plant a faithfull and powerfull ministery; and where the Lord Raignes, there is,

Page  191. The greatest Honour and advancement that can befall a Na∣tion. Its that which makes a Country to be the land of Immannel, Esay 8.8. A glorious high Throne, Jer. 17.12. A Crown of glory and a Royall Diadem in the Lords hand, Esay, 62.3. In a word,* this is it which lifts up a people as high as heaven, Mat. 11.23. Let Italy glory in this, That it is, for pleasure, the garden of the world; we shall never neede to envie them, whilst it may be truly said of great Britain, That it is the Court and presence Chamber of the great King; this is the Churches peculiar honour, The name of it shall be called from henceforth, The Lord is There, Ezech. 48 35.

2. As the greatest honour, so the greatest safety and protection attends where the Lord Raignes. The Church, it is the Kingdom of heaven upon Earth, and it is a strong City, having Salvation for its walls and Bulwarkes, Esay 26.1. It may indeed before assaulted and battered, but cannot be overcome; it may be endangered,* but not destroyed; Christ must be plucked out of heaven, and the Scep∣ter wrested out of his hands, before the Church can miscarry.

3. The Kingdome of heaven is a storehouse of all blessings, tem∣porall, Spirituall, and Eternall; the blessings of the heaven above,*and of the deepe that coucheth beneath, Irriguum superius & irri∣guum inferius the upper springs and the nether springs, yea all Gods fresh springs have their course here, Psal. 87.7.* Christ hath unsearchable riches of grace and glory, and he makes them all over, together with himself, to those that receive him. That State can never be bankrupt, that possesseth him who is the possessour of all things; looke over all the world and consider what good thing we would have in reference to our private or publike well-fare, whe∣ther it be riches, honour, wealth, peace, liberty, policy, plenty, pro∣sperity, or whatsoever else, which heaven can afford, they come in as additions with the Kingdom of God, Mat. 6.33. We value our Magna Charta much, our civill rights and liberties we count them precious, and yet they are but for this life, but the grand Patent and Charter of heaven Feoffes us in the promises of the life that now is, and of that also which is to come, 1 Tim. 4.8.

To winde up therefore this clew, Wheresoever the Lord is pleased by the Ministery of his Servants to establish himselfe a Kingdom among men, there is a Throne of honour, a myne of wealth, a store∣house of blessings, an Ocean of comforts; In a word, there is the spring-head where all happinesse flourisheth and all misery withers.

Page  20*2. Here's matter of comfort and encouragement, That whereso∣ever the Gospell is preached, there the Kingdom of heaven comes in, and no opposition can keep it out. The Prophets are wont to make this as a ground of greatest comfort, even in the midst of sad times. How beautifull are the feete? how welcome the accesse of those which bring this good tydings unto Sion, Thy God raignes, Esay 52.7.* We may feede upon this cordiall, even on our solemne Fast, in our greatest mourning, in the midst of all our teares, this may excite us to some expressions of thankfulnesse and strains of gra∣tulation. The Lord raignes, saith the man after Gods own heart, and what then, let the earth rejoyce, let the multitudes of the Isles be glad thereof, Psal. 97.1. If any other people in the world, surely wee of this Island have great cause to rejoyce and be glad in this regard, howsoever it be with us in other respects, yet blessed be God it may not,* it cannot be denyed, but that the Lord raignes and hath had his Throne among us for a long time. Tertullian observed long since, that Christ set up his colours, and came in as a conquerer before the Roman Eagles could spread their wings here; and S. Hierom: hath an expression to this purpose,* That the Court and Kingdom of heaven is as open at great Brittaine as at Jerusalem; and although in the generall Apostacy of Antichrist the Kingdom of heaven was here fast locked and barred up for many hundreds of yeares, yet it was afterward by the happy reformation in the dayes of our Fa∣thers, here also, as well as in other Churches set open againe accor∣ding to that prediction, Revel. 15.5. After this I looked and behold the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony in heaven was opened; I neede not tell you what store of excellent and glorious Instru∣ments the Lord then raised up,* both of Magistrates and Ministers, nor how mightily they carried on the work, though against a world of opposition. It sufficeth that we all know that the foundation of the Temple and Tabernacle of God was layd, and the street and walls of the heavenly Jerusalem built, though in troublous times; and from that day forward to this, the Lord that hath the key of the house of David, that opens and none shuts, and shuts & none opens, he hath set before us an open door, as he did for Philadelphia; Rev. 3.7.8. and although there hath been, and still is, much opposition, and great endeavours to have this door shut and fast bolted, yet still its kept open in despight of Rome and hell, and is not this just matter of comfort, that God hath by his Word opened us a passage into Page  21 his Kingdom which no Art or power of the Enemies can block up? Doth it not revive and cheer up our Spirits in our saddest droopings; that although the Lord suffers our treasures to waste, our estates to be drayned, our provisions and supplies brought low; though he feede us with the bread of adversity, and water of affli∣ction, as it is in the Prophet, Esay 30.20, 21. Yet he suffers not our teachers to be scattered into corners; notwithstanding all op∣position, he still continues a fresh Spring of the Gospell, and with it the cloud of his presence among us.* Surely we are injurious to the bounty and goodnesse of our God in this kinde, and value it not aright. If it beare not such weight in our estimations and thoughts, as to counter-vaile, and more then countervaile, to out∣ballance all our afflictions.

And though there be some that would make us beleeve, That we are still in the midst of Babylon, and that it is not Christ but Anti∣christ that hath his Throne among us, yet that is not a more malici∣ous then an ignorant slander, and tends not a little, were it true, to the honour of that man of sin: For how almost can you honour him more, as a reverend and grave Author sayes well,* then by holding him to be such an one under whose raigne a faithfull and effectuall ministery takes place, the Word of the Kingdom being purely preached, the Sacraments rightly administred for substance, thousands of people converted, and the way to Salvation and life eternall as open as in any other place in the world, Surely we should be worse scared then hurt with those expressions of horrour and atrocity, which the Scripture brands the kingdom of Anti∣christ with, if this were the condition of his raign and govern∣ment. Sed non sic notus Vlysses, I hope we are taught of God to know the manners of that man of sin otherwise then so.

But to passe over this, let us descend into a more particular survey and discovery of our present condition,* and then I doubt me we shall finde but too much ground of just mourning and humiliation, for although it is true, that there is a Kingdom of heaven among us, which prospers and flourishes in a considerable degree; yet it hath not spread and got ground in such a large manner as might have beene expected and desired.* A man would think that we who have been tenants in the Lords land, and have had a Patent and Charter of the Gospell leased out unto us, for the terme of more than fourescore yeeres, with many other great advantages, above Page  22 other parts of the world; a man would think I say, we should have been long since a people so refined in Religion, so ripe in know∣ledge, so eminent for the life and power of godlinesse, so exempla∣ry for purity of Ordinances, Ministery, Doctrine, Worship and Government, as might have rendred us a praise in all the Refor∣med Churches, and a singular pattern and myrrour to the other parts of the world. But alas how far short are we of such a con∣dition, and what great cause have we of mourning and humilia∣tion in sundry respects?

1. Its matter of mourning, That although there be some, yet we have not workmen enough rightly fitted and furnished with abi∣lity and fidelity for the Kingdom of God; if we had as many la∣bourers as Solomon had for the building of the Temple, and he had many hundreds of thousands, 1 Kings 5.15.16, yet all this would be no more then sufficient, in respect or the great Work of God now in hand and upon the wheeles among us. But alas, we have scarce the tithe of that number, the harvest is great, and the labourers but few, as our Saviour complained in a like case, Luke 10.2. The Apostle having mentioned some 4. or 5. men of principall note, who assisted him in the great work of Preaching the Gospell, hee doth as it were fetch a sigh and breath out his soul in an expression of some griefe, for that there were no more such, Col. 4.11. These onely saith he, are my fellow workers unto the Kingdom of God, which have beene a comfort unto me: you know how our Saviour mour∣ned, and how his bowels yearned with compassion over the mul∣titudes, when he observed them to be destitute in this kinde, and scattered abroad like sheep without a sheepheard. Mat. 9.36.

2. Its yet more to be lamented, that we are clogged and cumbred with others, who in stead of promoting and carrying on, do indeed retard and set back the proceedings of the Gospell and Kingdom of Christ 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as the saying of Byas was, their very help is a disadvantage and an hinderance, rather, there be no small numbers imployed in the Service of the house of God, whom a man would disdaine to set with the dogs of his flock, as Job hath it, Chap. 30.1. of this sort are,

1. Those troopes of blinde guides, ignorant sots, priests of Je∣roboams order, the scum and froth of the people. Indeed the silliest creatures in the world, if they were but men, were good e∣nough as one fayes to make priests for Jeroboams gods,* which Page  23 were but calves, but what hath the Gospell and Kingdome of Christ deserved, that it should be put into the hands of such huck∣sters.

2. Little better upon the matter, though some of them are more learned, are those Loiterers, rather than labourers in Gods Vine∣yard, who feede themselves and famish their flocks, Non-residents I meane, who through covetousnesse make Merchandize of the Church of God, and care not what becomes of the soules of the people, bought with Christs blood, so they may wallow in their pomp and jollity. Master Greenham wished that this Inscription or Motto might be written on their doores and posts, on their beds and tables, on their study, bookes, plate, and all their furni∣ture, precium sanguinis, pretium sanguinis, The price of blood, The price of blood.

3. Worse then both the former, are those sonnes of Eli, or sons of Belial rather, who by their corrupt Doctrine, or scandalous con∣versation, poyson those who are committed to their charge, pul∣ling down the Church and Kingdom of God with both hands, but building it up with neither; if the people call for bread, they give them a stone, and when they aske a fish, reach them a Serpent; are not Christs flock, trow ye, well provided for, when they are set over to the feeding of such Wolves?

4. That small sprinkling of faithfull Ministers and people that are in the Land, have they not been discouraged, oppressed, and per∣secuted with all extremity of rigour, onely for that power of god∣linesse which they held out, as if they that are themselves and would gladly draw others to be subjects in the Kingdom of heaven, were for that reason not worthy to live upon the earth. That which we reade of the Jewes, Ezek. 11.15. It was me thinkes an exact image and portraiture of the late face of our times; The great ones that bare the sway, cast out all the Ministers and people of God, saying, Get ye far hence from the Lord, to us is this Land given in possession: oprression was in power, superstition in credit, Luxu∣ry Idlenesse in favour, Ignorance cherished, prophannesse coun∣tenanced, negligence harboured, all Impiety fostered and maintai∣ned,* onely the faithfull servants of Christ were and eye-sore and a burthen which the land could not beare; and what was the quar∣rell? Why they could not reconcile their Consciences to the piety of those times, the new revived Popery would not rellish antiqua∣ted Page  24 superstitions then obtruded were not pleasing, they could not concoct Idolatry with witty distinctions, In a Word, they could not swallow the doctrine of Balaam, which some great Prelates and their adherents set abroach, teaching men to bow to a piece of wood or stone, the work of the hands of the Mason or Carpenter, no doubt a right worshipfull block, therefore the enemies either drove them out and persecuted them into strange Cities, as Jeroboam did the conscientious Levites, 2 King. 17.21. Or if they tarried still in the Land, they were appointed out as sheepe to the slaughter, Zach. 11.45. consult the place and it will seeme a Prophecy calcu∣lated for our Meridian.

5. To affect our hearts with just griefe, yet more, see if there be not a mighty Reigne of all manner of Iniquity almost every where in the Land. Is there not an overflowing Deluge of Popery, Atheisme, Heresies, Sects, Schismes, Idolatry, Tyranny, Simony, Bribery,* Sacriledge, Oppression, Rapine, Whordom, Drunken∣nesse, Adultery, Murther, with all other abominations, that can be named? are not all these as you heard worthily from the reverend Doctor in the morning, broken in like a torrent or winter land∣flood upon us? It was a sad complaint of a learned and worthy Divine of ours divers yeeres since, That there was such a generall corruption of manners here, that all things seemed to be lawfull, and might be acted freely and with impunity enough, except med∣ling with the Prelates Myters, which only were so sacred that they might not be toucht: the Jewes have a saying, That when all the creatures were destroyed by the flood, Noah had a copy of them in the Arke, which was after re-printed to the world; and sure I think, were all the corrupt Religions, and all the notorious sinnes of the world lost, a new Edition might be soon supplyed and sent out by the Copies and Paternes of them that are among us. Where these things are, and abound, it may be questioned whether the Lord raigns; but it is out of all doubt that so far forth at least Sathan hath a Throne there, as in the Church of Pergamus, Revel. 3.13.

6. That which may heighten our griefe as it doth our misery yet further, since the beginning of the Reformation none of all out former Princes or Parliaments have ever yet so laid these mis∣chiefes to heart, as to make any effectuall provision against them. Daut animum ad libere loquendum ultimae miseriae. Extreame mise∣ries will force a man to speak out more freely then otherwise Page  25 were perhaps fitting, Let me therefore intreate you, most honoured Senators, to lay your hands on your brests, and tell me whether this be not true. What law hath ever yet been enacted to enforce diligence and painfulnesse in preaching, or to establish a learned and faithfull ministery? Nay hath not the doore unto the Ministry been set wide open, and Sacred Orders prostituted to all sorts of persons though never so apparently unfit or unworthy? And hath there ever yet been any sollid well-grounded course, either to pre∣vent the entrance of such at the first, or to eject and remove them afterwards? The like may be said of the unsuppressed growth of scandalous sinnes, dangerous errours, destructive opinions and heresies, besides the prodigious ignorance next to Barbarisme, which hath been suffered to overflow the Dominion of Wales, and the neighbouring Kingdom of Ireland; to say nothing of the blinde corners in our own Land, in all which there is so little knowledge of Christ and the Gospell, that a man could hardly take it upon his conscience, that the most of the people are not Infidels; surely ve∣ry few would suspect them to be Christians; Who would think that such a Kingdom as this, professing the Gospell and faith of Christ,* should suffer such abuses and prophanations, and take no effectuall course for the redresse and reformation of them. It may be a just griefe and shame unto us that such things may be layd to our charge and that we cannot answer for them.

7. But this is yet worse then all the rest, and more to be lamented, That the Publique State of the Kingdome hath heretofore by Parli∣amentary Acts and Decrees Legitimated some of the former and sundry other mischiefes:* and is it not a strong conviction of sin reig∣ning in a land, where the throne of Iniquity establisheth mischiefe by a Law? Psal. 94.20.* Other sins may be charged upon private persons, but the publique state must beare the guilt of those evills which it might have hindred and did not, much more of those which it did command; and how can that State be excused from commanding of sin, which enacteth lawes against Gods Lawes? what should I neede to tell you of the errours and oversights of former times, in which the civill Authority and sanction of Par∣liaments hath confirmed and ratified, not onely Non-residency, Plu∣ralities, Impropriations, and a dumb Ministery, with other like corruptions, but that which hath given growth, and spreadth to all these, and many other horrible abuses, a pompous high towring Page  26 and most unprofitable Hierarchy, with a multitude of Chauncel∣lours, Commissaries, Surrogates, and other inferiour Officers de∣pending thereupon; the most of which have beene ever found by constant experience, very bitter enemies to the Kingdom of God; and now the whole faction of them, with all its dependants, is ri∣sen up in Armes to oppose Religion and Liberty,* and to sacrifice to their unbounded ambition, the prosperity, honour, and happi∣nesse of three Kingdomes. It was a harsh expression, but too true, Religion is never in danger but among the Right Reverend.

8. Once more, look upon all these great evills, not as sinnes onely, but as Judgements also, especially that Church-destroy∣ing, soul-damning curse of a corrupt Ministery, which is one of the forest plagues that God is wont to punish a wicked people with. Its undeniable this, upon the former grounds, for if Pastors after Gods own heart be such undoubted pledges of speciall favour and grace, sure then the contrary must needs be interpreted as symptomes of wrath and infallible arguments of much displeasure: God is angry with a people to purpose when he inflicteth upon them such a Judgement, Hos. 9.7. Israel might well know (and so may England now by the same token) that the dayes of visitation and recompence were come, when the Prophet it a foole, the spirituall man mad,* an heavie condition God wot, but hark what followes; For the multitude of their Iniquity and the great hatred: we are for the most part slight and shallow in searching out the true roote and ground of such a Judgement when the Prophets are fooles, and spiri∣tuall men mad, we shift off the blame from our selves, and derive it upon others; oh we may thank the Prelates for this, or we may thank corrupt and Simoniacall Patrons; these commonly be our thoughts, but truely we may thank our selves most of all, who by our manifold great sinnes have provoked our God to scourge us with such a dreadfull visitation, Let us therefore sit in the dust and accept of our punishment, acknowledging and owning our deme∣rit. If there be multitudes of Prophets fooles, and multitudes of Spirituall men, that are no better then mad or distracted, take the Prophets word for it, and write it down as an Oracle, That it is for The multitude of our Iniquity, and for Gods great, but just, Ha∣tred, conceived against us.

It was Hirams complement to Solomon, Because the Lord loved his people, therefore he made thee to be King over them, 2 Chron. 2.11. Page  27 And let me say in the same manner,*because the Lord was angry with his people, therefore in Church and State he made such and such Lyons, Wolves, and Leopards, to rule over them; when a Religious man in an expostulatory straine, complained to God of Phocas that Paracide, who paved his way to the Throne by the murther of Mauritius his predecessour, saying, Lord, wherefore hast thou made this man Emperour: The story records,* that the Lord retur∣ned this unto him in answer, enimvero quomodum non inveni pejorem, Verily, because I have not found a worse: It seemes the sinnes of the Romane State were then grown to such an height, that if God could have culled out a worse Instrument then Phocas was, they should have had him to sit at the Helm, and Steere their Common-wealth with a vengeance. And if any should expostu∣late now, and complaine in like manner unto God and aske, Why he hath set over the Church such multitudes of blinde Seers, mon∣grll temporizers, superstitious Chemarims, desperate malignants, Incendiaries and furies, May he not returne the same answer, Be∣cause he hath not found any worse; Verily, the sins and provocations of our Land are risen to such an height and swoln to such a Number, that if the Lord could have raked together a worse generation of pernicious and destructive instruments, from any corner of the world on this side of hell; Its not to be doubted but that sun∣dry of our Parishes and Congregations should have been thought worthy to be plagued with them.

I know this will seeme a sad, and perhaps too grievous a charge, but will ye please to consider how the Lord lightens and thunders, and with how tragicall an accent he ushers in such a Judgement, Esay 29.9, 10, 11, &c. Stay your selves and wonder, and cry ye out, Wherefore is all this noise? What meanes such unusuall ful∣gurations? Sure the matter must needs be great, more then ordi∣nary, when the expressions are so full of horror; Indeed so it is, for the Lord was now preparing a Judgement for his people,* little short of the damnation of Hell, at the 10. vers. He powres out upon them a Spirit of slumber, rockes them fast asleepe in a profound security, and that they might never be awaked, Their eyes were closed (as dying men use to be) their Prophets, Rulers, and Seers, were co∣vered; a black and palpable mist of Egyptian darknesse, enclosed and over-clouded them all, learned and unlearned, The visions of heaven were unto them a Sealed booke, vers. 11.12. Utterly inexpli∣cable Page  28 and unintelligible: and if we would know what meanes the heate of this fierce wrath, see the ground and meritorius cause of it, vers. 13, 14 It is for the Iniquity of an hypocriticall and supersti∣tious, people,*which draw neere unto God with their mouth, and with their lips do honour him, but their hearts recede far from him, and their worship of him is taught by the precepts of men. Therefore doth the Lord proceede to do this marvellous work and wonder in their dayes: when he would seale up a people unto destruction, he strikes them with a spirit of giddinesse,* and makes their wisemen that should be, as blinde as beetles, so as they can see nothing.

Let me with you patience adde one place more, of many others, to close up this,*Mich. 2.6, 11. They straightned the Spirit of the Lord and silenced his Prophets, they liked not their Prophecies which ne∣ver boded unto them any good, but still, as they thought, put them to shame; therefore to fit their humour, that there might be like Priest like people;*If any man, saith the Lord, vers. 11. walking in the spirit and falshood do lye, saying, I will Prophecy unto you of wine and strong drink he shall even be the Prophet of this people. The visi∣ons and inspirations of faithfull Prophets, which like golden showers came dropping from heaven, these were loathed, there∣fore the Lord lets them have such as they best relished, drunken sots setting all their doctrines abroach from their wine cellar. Doe but turn the key of the speech and alter the Scene, and it will suite our condition to an haire. If any man walking in the Spirit, and falshood, will Preach against Preaching, and cry up the divine right of Episcopacy with Altar and Image worship, and the only lawfull devotion of May games and Morrice dances, for the San∣ctification of the Lords day, he shall even be the Prophet of this people.

4.This may reach out a word of exhortation, First to all in gene∣rall, and next in a more speciall addresse to ministers, and lastly to our honourable Senators.

*1. It generally concerns us all of what degree or condition so∣ever we be, to helpe forward as much as lyeth in us, the powerfull preaching and receiving of the Gospell, which is the onely meanes by which the Kingdome of heaven comes in and gets possession: Indeede we cannot all be Christs Scepter bearers that is, an Office peculiar to some few that are design'd to it by speciall appoint∣ment; we cannot all promote the affaires of the Kingdom of Page  29 heaven by Preaching, but there is somewhat which we may all doe,

1. We may prepare and make way for the erecting and setting up of Christs Throne in our owne hearts and in our families and dependants; we may do much, if we put our strength to it to do our utmost. If Christ raigne in our own consciences by the Scep∣ter of his Word and Spirit, and the Kingdome of God be within us,* as the expression is, Luke 17.21. We shall then straine our indea∣vours with all violence, to make our houses Bethels little Temples, and Sanctuaries, and courts for Christ to keepe residence in, there shall be roome for no swearers, drunkards, scorners of Religion or any other children of Belial, that turn the broad side against Christ, and will not have him reigne over them.

2. We may hold fast what we have got already, not suffering any enemy to take our crown and Kingdom from us; there is a holy art of violence if we could hit on it, by which the King may be detained and held in our galleries by the chaines of an ac∣ceptable and well pleasing captivity, Cant. 7.5. If he see us earnest and zealous, with all our most serious desires and affections, win∣ding about him, and passionately enamored and sick of love for him, and stedfastly resolved to retaine him with us in despight of all oppositions, it will not then be in the power of any enemies to drive him out or pluck him away from us.

It may be we cannot prevaile to advance the Kingdom of hea∣ven to a further extent and progresse, and to the achieving of new acquisitions; but we may, if we be zealous and resolute, make good the ground, which it hath already won, maintaine and defend all the Forts and strong Holds, which it hath already taken in and conquered. We cannot be all Souldiers to fight the Lords battels in the field, but there is an holy war which we all may and must wage against Christs and our enemies, which would if they knew how, plunder him out of his Imperiall Soveraignety, and us out of our Salvation. S. Jude would have all Christians 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,* earnestly to contend and wrastle for the faith which was once de∣livered to the Saints. Here it behooves us all to be stout and invin∣cible Champions to take up the Armes of our Christian warfare, against Sathan and Antichrist, and all their Ensigne-bearers: who∣soever go about to encroach upon our consciences, and to raigne over us in matters of faith and Religion besides Christ, we must Page  30 hold our owne against them to the last gaspe.

3. If we can do nothing else, yet we may help forward the pro∣pagation of the Gospell by our prayers, S. Paul often moves the people to pray that a doore might be opened unto him,*and that the Word of the Lord might run and be glorified. Habebat ille verbi toni∣truum sed dari ei viam querebat, saith Gregory, He had the thunder of the Word, and yet he desired the peoples prayers that it might get the easier entrance,* and make the swifter progresse through all the difficulties and rubbs which he knew it would meete with. There are great mountaines of opposition that lye in the way of Christs Kingdome, but prayer, if it be earnest and faithfull, will remove them, Mat. 7.20. This was the Engine which the Prophet plyed when he would with his breath blow downe the great Monarchy of Babylon, which so long hindred the Churches restitution, Esay 64 12. Oh that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down, that the mountaines might flow down at thy presence; when the spirit of pray∣er growes hot and violent, it melts mighty mountaines, and makes them flow downe as snow before the sun, or wax before the fire.

There be many faithfull Ministers which now lye in chaines, and suffer Imprisonment as Peter did, when Herod set a strong guard of Souldiers to keepe him: the enlargement of them were a great ad∣vantage to the Kingdome of God, a strong Gale of prayer would turne the lock of the Prison doores, shake off all their fetters, and fetch them out with safety; there be many blinde corners in the Land, where the people sit in darknesse, and the shadow of death, having scarce any more knowledge of Christ and the Kingdom of heaven, then those that live in the wild deserts of America, how miserable is the condition of such poore soules, which are besie∣ged with hell fire, and yet know not their owne danger: The key of knowledge not being with them, the kingdom of heaven is fast locked and shut up upon them with Iron gates and barres. If we can do nothing else, yet we may at least pitty such poore soules and weep over them, and pray for them, that the Lord would thrust some faithfull labourers into his harvest among them, Mat. 9.38.

4. We may and must with our prayers joyne our endeavours, imploy our Interests, friends, purses, withall the contributions, talents, and advantages that we have to help forward the propa∣gation of Christs Gospell and Kingdom, that it may prevaile and prosper every where, especially in our own Land. We all pray Page  31that his Kingdom may come, we are not in good earnest, but do in effect mock God, when we use not all possible meanes to accom∣plish what we pray for. If we be desirous to have a Kingdom of heaven upon earth, we must spare for no cost, but like the wise Mer∣chant man, venture all we have for this pearl; Wherefore were our estates given us, but to honour God, advantage our selves and helpe our neighbours? which we can no way procure more effectually then by laying them out to purchase a sound Ministery, we can ne∣ver put out our wealth to a nobler use; riches are then Goods, when they are thus imployed: if there be any other, this is the best way to make our selves friends of the unrighteous Mammon, Luke 16.9. We may at once ingage God and man to be our friends by this course. For what can be more to the honour of God,* or benefit of man What more acceptable to both then to do with our Estates as 〈◊〉 did after its conversion, write upon them Holinesse to the Lord, Lin 23.18. Happy are those stones, saith the Philosopher, of which Temples are made; and happy is that Sacred Revenue, say I, which is imployed 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to make a bridge for men to go to heaven by. Oh that some common stock might be rai∣sed for this purpose. There was an honourable design on foot some few yeeres since, for the buying out of Impropriations, and the redeeming of the Churches patrimony; it was a worke of as emi∣nent piety and charity as ever any this Age hath produced, and the stopping of it by some execrable instruments, was an act of as pure Sathanicall malice against, the glory of Christ, and the Soules of men, as ever issued out of Hell; and were there no other exception against some great Incendiaries but this, it were enough to render their persons hatefull, and their memory infamous to all gene∣rations.

But howsoever all are interessed in this, yet the Ministers of the Gospell it belongs to them in a more speciall manner,* to endeavour the prosperity, honour, and enlargement of Christs Kingdome; their very office and calling, bespeakes this at their hands, where∣fore else are they appointed of God and separated from others,* but to be both by their preaching and conversation builders of his house, Stewards in his family, Watchmen in his City, Labourers in his Vineyard, burning Lamps in his Temple: the successe and fortune of Christs Kingdome depends next unto God upon the Issue of their endeavours. If they whose office it is to attend the Page  32 Sanctuary, had but the fire of the Sanctuary burning on the Altar of their own hearts; If they were like John the Baptist, Burning and shining lights, oh what a goodly light of knowledge, and flame of zeale, would be kindled in the hearts of the people; How would multitudes come flowing in, to borrow fire from their hearth, and light their candles at their Lampes? What a singular honour would this be to have it recorded as ('tis here of John) That from the days of such and such a Minister, since the time of his arivall and con∣tinuance, in such and such a Congregation, with the parts adjacent, there hath bin great contention, much wrestling and violence for the Kingdome of heaven, great trading and trafficking for remission of sinnes, the Graces of the Spirit, which before were scarce at all looked after.

How much better were this, then to have it left upon record, That since the entrance of such and such a Dumbe Minister or lazie Drone, there hath been a great decay of Religion and piety, a great famine of the Word, with a Mighty Inundation of Popery, A∣theisme, and all Prophannesse, since the entrance of such Idoll Sheepheards, and Priests of Baalam; all vices have grown, all ver∣tues withered: What a wofull account will such men have at the day of judgement, when it shall be charged upon them, as upon the Pharisees, That they neither entred themselves into the King∣dome of God, and that they hindred others that were desirous to enter; molesting, discouraging, and doing what they could, to cast them out with a rage, that reached as high as heaven; with such a violence as this, they will finde that God was not, nor ever will be well pleased.

*I descend to that part of this Exhortation which concernes our honourable Senators: If powerfull and plentifull preaching of the Gospell, be the next way to bring down the Kingdome of hea∣ven among us; you see then Worthy Patriots, what it is which the Lord and his people expect and call for at your hands. The gene∣rall complaint is from every corner of the Land, That the people have been for a long time almost quite without the true God, and without a teaching Priest, and without the Law, as the Israelites were, 2 Chron. 15 3. No Ministery, no Worship, no Ordinances, or that which is little better then none; and the generall request and desire is like to that motion of the man of Macedonia, That you would send some over to helpe them. If therefore the glory of Page  33 Jesus Christ and the Salvation of his people, bought with his own blood, be deare and precious unto you, as we know they are. If ever you desire to have the honour of being the chiefest Instru∣ments to plant a new heaven and a new earth in this Land, Helpe every Congregation to faithfull Pastors, and pure Ordinances; you are as Joshuah and Zerubbabel, the two Olive-branches, or the two anointed ones, which stand before the Lord of the whole earth; Oh let the golden Oyle still stream out in abundance from you to feede the Lamps of the golden Candlestick, Zach. 4.12, 14.* God hath made you nursing fathers, and nursing mothers to his Church, blessed be God we have found you such: Go on still with your honour, and make yet more full and liberall provisions for all the children of his family; by this meanes Religion and the Church shall flourish more than ever, and thousand, thousands, shall blesse God for you.

If you would straine your selves to do a work of the richest merit, and grandest importance for the Churches of Christ, I do not know any other that may be of superiour, or but of equall con∣sideration with this, which among many things usefull is without all doubt, That one thing mainely necessary, Luke 10.42. The King∣dome of God cannot be held up without this, The key of know∣ledge (you know the custody of it, in the Priests lips) it is the key of heaven; take away this, and suppose the whole land were paved with gold, and walled with rockes of Adamant; suppose we were crowned like the fortunate Islands, with the richest confluence of all worldly prosperity, honour and happinesse:* what would all this availe whiles the heavens are shut up and fast locked against us. Take away a right Ministery and what is the most flourishing Common-wealth? but as a Paradise without the tree of life, as the firmament without the Sun, or as a goodly Pa∣lace richly furnished and hung about with stately ornaments, but without any windowes to let in the light of heaven.

Among all the Religious and worthy Acts of Jehoshaphat, this is recorded as one of the chiefe, 2 Chron. 17.7, 8 9. That he sent his Princes, and with them the Levites, to teach the People in the Cities of Judah, and I neede not tell you, for its well knowne how prospe∣rous and successefull that design prooved. I doubt not but this pra∣ctise of that incomparable Prince, will be set up unto you, as a pattern for imitation. Blessed be God ye have begun well, I Page  34 shall neede to say nothing, but as that Greek Commander said un∣to Teucer,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, go on and prosper, Gather out of the King∣dome of our God, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, all things and persons, that are offensive and that do Iniquity, Mat. 13.41. Ye have displaced sun∣dry unworthy and scandalous ones, which like drones cumbred the hive and preyed upon the honey, which should have served for the laborious Bees; take the same course with the rest, Remove the stumbling blockes,*prepare the way of the people, lift up a standard that they may flocke to it, as doves to their windowes, this is the way to leave the Church a Pallace of Marble, which you found as a cottage of brick. I have insisted but too long upon this, where∣fore I passe it over, and come to the next. Those that would put in for a share in this Kingdome, they must not be dull and sluggish, but earnest and violent in pursuance of it.

There is indeed a violence, nothing praise-worthy, held out in Scripture, which is either, 1. In generall, when men put forth themselves to the uttermost, and draw out their strength in any sinfull way, be it what it will, As the Priests and people when Ahab-like they sold themselves over to Idols, and the full bent and sway of their spirits was unto sin, here was a violence, such as it was,*Jer. 23.10. Their course was evill and their force not right. Or 2. There is a violence taken in a more speciall and restrained fence, which is all one with oppression and rapine pillaging, spoy∣ling, plundering, and other such practises which Jehoiakim that wicked Prince is branded for Jer. 22.17. John the Baptist reads a Lecture to the Souldiers that came to his Baptisme,*to beware of this violence, it being such a character as least of all suits with those that pretend towards the Kingdome of heaven, S. Paul is peremp∣tory, that none such shall ever come there, 1 Cor. 6.10.

It is a violence quite of another nature and straine, which is here hinted unto and commended. An honest and just violence, an holy Rapine, a lawfull and heavenly Robbery, a divine Sacriledge, which to give you in a word a rude and cursory description of it, is nothing else, But a vehement bent of desires, affections, endea∣vours, intensively aspiring, and reaching after the Kingdome of God, and greedily laying hold of all helpes, meanes, and advantages which may conduce and tend thereunto.

We have sundry instances in Scripture of such a violence as this. The woman of Canaan, Mark 7.27. she was so obstinate in dri∣ving Page  35 on her design, that she could not be beaten off, no not with re∣pulses, the more Discouragements she had, so much the more re∣solute and violent she grew, taking a strong hold-fast of Christ, and cleaving to him like a bur, and never giving him over till she had got what she came for. So the blind man which sate begging by the high-way-side, you may enter him into same List, When he heard that Jesus passed by, he cryed after him with a loud voyce, and when the Disciples discouraged him, he cryed yet out the more a great deale, and clamored after him, Jesus thou son of David have mercy on me, Luke 18.35. And were not those Auditors of Christ exceeding violent who thronged after him in such crowdes that they trode upon one another, Luke 12.1. and those also no lesse, who forced their accesse unto Christ by digging through stone walls, and uncovering the roofe of the house where he was? Mark. 2.4. What should I neede to stand upon particular Instances, the Scripture is full of them every where. The Souldiers, Publicans, and Harlots,* in those dayes, they rose up in great numbers and took the King∣dome of heaven by force; whiles the Pharisees and Scribes and those profound Schollers were left behind. Those that seemed first were the last, and they that were last proved first. This violent Disposi∣tion and straine of Spirit, I shall endeavour to shew wherein it consists, how it workes and wherefore it is so requisite and ne∣cessary.

1. Therefore this violence consists in earnest and vehement desires. 2. In stedfast purposes and Resolutions. 3. In stirring and impetuous indeavours. To begin with the first of these. Earnest and vehement desires; They are the next and most immediate issues, and out-goings of the soule, the feete on which it runnes, the wings on which it mounts and flyes towards the object desired and lon∣ged for; and these desires are either good or evill, carnall or spi∣rituall, thereafter as the object is, on which they fix, and the order and manner in which they move. A man may know what the constitution and temper of his spirit is in relation to the King∣dome of God, if he can but discerne how the pulses of his desire beate, and what the chiefe and principall thing is, which the most quick and violent motions and ebullitions of his heart workes af∣ter. If a man be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as the Philosopher spake, a Citizen and inhabitant of this world, his desires grovell on the earth, he pants after riches, honours, pleasures, relisheth nothing else; but Page  36 now on the other side, if a man be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a Citizen and inha∣bitant of another world, then the currant and full streame of his desires is still rising and working up towards heaven, He will pant after God, as the chased Hart doth for the water brookes, Psal. 42. And thirst for him as the dry and parched ground doth for showres of raine, Psal 63 1. He will long (like a woman with child) for his Salva∣tion, Psal 119.174. and if it be deferred he will faint and fall into a swoune, Psal. 119.81, 82. And be sick of love, Cant. 5.8. Such desires as these are violent, and they are of such force and prevalence that nothing can withstand them.* A man may do what he will and carry what he will in matters of Religion if he have but ear∣nest and vehement desires, Matth. 7. Aske and it shall be given you, seeke and ye shall finde, knocke and it shall be opened unto you, This asking, seeking, knocking, is nothing else but prayer; and prayer is nothing else but the ejaculation or darting out of earnest and impe∣tuous desires, which pierce the clouds and strike up unto God, get into his bosome, charme his wrath, opens or shuts his hands, extorts mercies, removes Judgements, and never will away with∣out its errand.

This is that golden Key, as one fitly calls it, which can open all lockes,* remove all barres, raigne over all Impediments in heaven and earth. Its a kinde of omnipotent thing that can prevaile with God and man above all expressions and thoughts. As they write of Proteus, that when any came to consult with him, and to receive Oracles from him, he would at the first turne himselfe into a thou∣sand varieties of colours and shapes, but if they pressed on him with importunity, and held him hard and close to it, he would then give them at last satisfactory oracles; So the Lord, though he seeme for a while to neglect and take little or no knowledge of the de∣sires of his people, and seemes to put them off, and winde from them, yet when their desires grow violent, and when they knock at his gates with importunitie, then he lets them be their owne carvers, and is content that they should ravish from him what∣soever they will. By this you may see how strong and forcible de∣sires be, though they seeme but of a soft and gentle straine, they ra∣vish the objects they are set on; As if a man looke upon an object of beauty, and lust after it, you know what interpretation our Savi∣our makes of that; so if a man look upon the Kingdom of heaven, and lust after it, he hath already ravished it in his heart.

Page  372. This violent disposition and straine of spirit discovers it selfe in stedfast purposes and resolutions, Resolution it is the spring of Action. Its that which poyseth and steeres a mans course, such as our purposes and resolutions are, such be our actions and enter∣prizes, the hand of the dyall goes without, as the weights and wheels of the clock turn it within; so the head plots, the hand acts, according to the sway of a well or ill setled Resolution. The heart saith (if it be set right for heaven) I must and will have the King∣dom of God; let honours and wealth go which way they will, to set up Christ upon his Throne, that he may raigne in heaven and earth, and in the hearts of men: Though it be a difficult, a painefull, and chargeable designe; yet this I must and will drive to the worlds end; let other things sink or swim, prosper or wither, it skills not, the Gospell of Christ shall prevaile with me univer∣sally; let the world lye at six and seven, this course I must and will follow, though all the dust of the earth, sands on the shore, and tyles of houses were devills, this I will set in hand with, come what will come; such a resolution as this is violent, and it will overcome all resistance, and make a man with a full purpose of heart cleave unto God, Act. 11.29.

We may see a lively portraict of such a spirit, in the Apostle S. Paul, Act. 20.22. He went bound in the spirit, as in a chaine, to Jerusalem, and though he knew himselfe, and others told him too, by the inspiration and instinct of the spirit, That nothing but bonds and imprisonments waited for him in euery City, yet all this could not move him, he had such a magnanimous and adamantine resoluti∣on to go through with his work, and fulfill his ministery; that his life was not at all deare unto him, neither did he set any value on it in comparison of the service which he was now upon. So true is that of the Spouse, Cant. 8.6, 7. Love is as strong as death, zeale as hard (i.e. inexorable) as the grave, much water cannot quench it, neither can the floods drown it, no difficulties or oppositions can allay or abate, much lesse extinguish the heate of it, If a man would give all the substance of his house for it, it would be utterly contemned.

The whole world, though vayled with the most glorious and glistering temptations, would be scorned, as too meane and poore a bribe, to draw off the heart of a man from the kingdom of God, when it is once well fixed and steeled with a firme and adaman∣tine resolution; no diswasions, sloth, feare, policy, covetousnesse, Page  38 ficklenesse, nor any other thing, can either divert, or stop, or inter∣rupt him in his enterprize.* When a man is thus obstinately and couragiously bent unto his worke, this is violence well pleasing unto God. The Jewes have a saying, That a man should set his face as a flint, and that his countenance should be like a Leopard, stout and stearn and obstinate to do the will of his father in heaven.

3. This consists in strong and serious endeavours; A man is not violent in matters of the Kingdome of God, if he do not put forth himselfe into action, trying every conclusion, rolling every stone, and leaving nothing unattempted that may conduce to the atchieving of his end.* Every man saith the Philosopher, workes as he is, and his acts, and operations are such as his principles. If the inward principles of his desires beat faintly, if his purpo∣ses faulter and reele and be not steady and constant, then his Actings in like manner, will either be none at all, or feeble, and unspiri∣ted, and consequently fruitlesse and bootlesse; as an arrow weakely shot off will not carry home, but fall short of the mark; and short shooting, we say, looseth many a game; it doth so in religion also: but now, when the desires are as hot as a flame, and the purposes as strong as steele, then to be sure vigorous and Spirited endeavours will follow unavoydably. The Church in Solomons Song may serve for an instance to cleer this; for a long time she lay languish∣ing, and as I may say wind-bound; no excitations, wooings, or en∣treaties of her lover could prevaile, to get her up out of her warme bed, her secure and slumbring condition; some velleities and imper∣fect wishings and wouldings she had, but still the door was lock∣ed against Christ; her will was not bowed, there lay the inward im∣pediment, the will was but halfe stirred, and therefore no arising, no motion, till Christ comes and puts in his hand to the hole of the doore, and takes away the bar, shoots the bolt, removes the Impediments, and then her bowels were affected and moved to∣wards him, Then she arose and sought him with a curious diligence every where, her hands bestirred themselves till they sweat, till they dropt againe,*her feete trudges up and down the streets to finde him whom her soule loved, and a world now for them that could tell her of any tydings of him, Cant. 5.2, 3, 4, 5, &c.

Its a true saying, That love is the roote and principle of all the motions of the soul; for though there be other affections, and those active, yet all are reducible to love; and in the strength thereof Page  39 they Act, and put all the wheeles of the soule in motion, as David when his heart was caught with a violent passion of love towards God, how doth he extend and spread out his armes, and put forth all oares and sailes in a strong pursuance after him. Psal. 63.8. My soule followeth hard after thee: there was never a more difficult and in humane view, a more unfeasible design then that of the Jewes in Nehemiahs time, when they were to build the house of God, they had a potent faction at Court, and malignant Councellours at home, to retard and stop the proceedings of the work, they were faine to build with a trowell in one hand, and a sword in the other, yet they prevailed against all difficulties, and this is given in ac∣count at the reason of it, The people had a minde to worke, Neh. 4.6.

You see now what this violence is, and wherein it consists, see in the next place how it workes, either in relation to the good which it reacheth after, and would obtaine; or else in relation to the evill which it would remove, and be rid of.

In the relation to the good which it desires to obtaine. 1. It stirreth up a generous and mighty ambition to excell in the inward gifts and graces of the Spirit, which are necessary qualifications for all them that would have a share in the Kingdome of God. A man that is in a violent straine, he cannot rest in any medio∣crities, never thinkes he hath vertue and grace enough, still he is aspiring and reaching after more, He gives all diligence to adde un∣to his faith, vertue, knowledge, temperance, brotherly kindnesse, godli∣nesse; all the rest of that chaine of pearls which the Apostle strin∣geth up, 2 Peter 1.5, 6, 7, as well knowing, that if these be in him, and abound, they will make that he shall neither be barren nor unfruit∣full in the knowledge of Christ, and then to be sure,*an entrance shall be ministred unto him abundantly into the everlasting Kingdome of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, v. 11. As a scholler thinkes he can never have learning enough, and a covetous man thinks that he can never have wealth and riches enough; so is it with a Christian of a violent Spirit, he never rests contented with his present pitch▪ but labours still to abound more and more; strives, if possible,* to get up a note above Elah, sets himselfe no bounds, counts all that he hath attained, as nothing, like the Apostle S. Paul, whose zeale and covetousnesse, and ambition, in this kind was so beyond all measure super superlative, that although he had already gotten the greatest measure of grace that ever any mortall man attained on Page  40 this side of heaven, yet he forgot it all, and scarce thought it any competencie, still pressing forward to an higher marke, as if he would pre-occupate the state of glory, and attaine even in this world, unto the resurrection of the dead, Phil. 3.11.

2. In the worship and Service of God, and in the use of all the Ordinances, publique and private, the violence of a mans spirit workes much in this:* the Jewes have a rule, That whatsoever a man doth in the solemn Worship of God, he should stretch and straine his inventions to do it with all his might, else it is not cur∣rant nor allowable with God;* and the Apostle requires the like, Rom. 12.11. He would not have a man slight and formall, but fer∣vent in Spirit, serving the Lord; and the word notes an ebullition or boyling up of our spirits to the height. The oddes is not great, if any at all, between the omission of duties altogether, and the re∣misse performance of them, seeing a man is a looser both wayes. Acts of worship and devotion when they are livelesse and super∣ficiall, are like a bow slack bent, which will not carry the arrow home to the marke. S. Basil observes further, That such slighting over duties,* is not onely unprofitable, but hurtfull and prejudiciall to the State of the soule, as tending onely to nourish an hypocriti∣call and barren formality. There is nothing in the world more unbecomming the worship of God, then such a slight wanton su∣perficiall straine of spirit, when a man playes with Religion and serves God as if he served him not. It was Davids just praise, that the Zeale of Gods House did eate him up, Psal. 69.9. And he daunced before the Arke with all his might, and when Michael scoffed at him for it, I will, saith he, be yet more vile then thus, for God, 2 Sam. 6.14, 22. Nor was Hezekiah behind him in this, of whom to his everlasting honour it is recorded that 2 Chron. 31.27, In every worke which he began in the service of the house of his God, and in the Law, and in the Commandements to seeke his God, he did it with all his heart and prospered. The ancient & primative Christians when they met,* and crowded together with one shoulder, at their devo∣tions, were so earnest that they seemed to besiege the Throne of Grace, and to raise a common strength to invade, and make a riot upon God in their prayers, and this, saith Tertullian, was a violence right welcome unto God: Jacob was honoured and called Israel for this, because he wrestled in prayer, and by main strength prevailed like a Prince with God, Hos. 12.3, 4, 5. Gen. 32.28.

Page  413. Nor is the violence either lesse acceptable or lesse necessary which we are to use for the Word and worship of God, either to maintaine and hold it up when we have it, or to restore and reco∣ver it, if lost or endangered: S. Jude held it necessary to write unto beleevers to stir them up 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Earnestly to contend for the faith, which was once delivered unto the Saints, v. 3. and the angell of Pergamos is much commended for holding fast Christs Name, and not denying his faith in a time of persecution, Revel. 2.13. If wicked men would rob us of the Gospell, take from us the Worship and Ordinances of God, plunder us of our glory, our crown, our Sal∣vation, here we must hold fast what we have, Revel, 2.25.*Not gi∣ving place by subjection, no not for an houre, Gal. 2.5. nor yeeld to betray one sillable unto them, as Basils worthy resolution was; we value not the truth of God, nor set a right estimate upon his worship and Ordinances, if we be not violently bent to maintaine and defend them to the last drop of our blood.

And if there be a famine of the Word, a want or losse of any part or piece of worship, it must be violently striven and contended for. Solomon would have us buy the truth and not sell it, Prov. 23.23. at any rate to purchase it, at no rate to part with it: a man that is rightly principled for heaven, will venture through an Army of Philistims for water of life, as Davids worthies did, unto the well of Bethlehem; the people would part with their very Jewells, the most pretious things they had, for the erecting the setting up of Gods Tabernacle, David would not take an houres rest till he had prepared an habitation for the Arke, Psal. 132.3, 4, 5. and because he set his affection upon the house of God, he prepared for the building of it with all his might, 1 Chron. 2, 3, 4 He thought it a thing un∣becomming him, to dwell himselfe in a house of Cedar, when the Arke of God dwelt under curtaines:* and the Jewes in the sore fa∣mine and siege of Jerusalem, brought ever the fairest and fattest Cattell for sacrifices, though they were constrained themselves to feede upon Rats and Mice and other worse vermine; they chose rather to pine and famish their own bodies, that the Altars of God should be altogether unfurnished, or take up with the worst: and when the Tribunes complained for want of gold in the Treasury,* to offer to Apollo, the Romane Matrons plucked off their chaines, bracelets, and rings, freely offering them to the Priests to supply that defect in the service of their gods; This certainly was a high Page  42 straine of devotion in those Jewes and Heathens, And what do you think of the Primitive Christians, were not they also thus violent when they sold their estates, and layd down the price of them at the Apostles feete, to purchase the meanes of Salvation for them∣selves and others? If the people of this land would bid so high for the rich pearl of the Gospell, The Kingdom of heaven were ours.

*2. And as in procuring of helpes, meanes, and advantages for the attainement or advancement of the kingdom of God, so in removing the lets and impediments, this heaven-sprung-violence will work and bestir it self to the uttermost. If the Gospell of Christ, the Word of the Kingdom, chance to be brewed with hu∣mane traditions, or the Worship and Ordinances of God adulte∣rated with spurious institutions and impure mixtures, Quid non audet amor, what will not a man of violence do or suffer? What labour or cost will he spare? What adventures will he not make? What hazards not run, rather them suffer (if he can helpe it) such pollutions? He will set his shoulders, with Sampson, to the pillars of Dagons house, and pull them down, though himselfe be oppres∣sed in the ruines; he will cut down the grove of Baal, and over∣throw his Altars, though the men of the City cry out of him, and threaten to have his life for it. He will do his uttermost to remove scandalls and stumbling blockes as Hezekiah did the brazen Serpent when Idolized; to scourge out of the Temple corrupt Church∣men, which make merchandize of holy things, as our Saviour did the money-changers; to reforme abuses and prophanations of Gods Name, his Sabboth, and Sanctuary, as Ezra and Nehemiah did; He will not connive at his neerest friends, but eject and cashiere them, if Idolatrous or superstitious, as Asa did Maacha his Queen Mother, 2 Chron. 15.16. Hezekiah made it his first work when he came to the Kingdom to set open the doores of the Lords house, which for a long time had been shut up; he was scarce warme in his Throne when he was fiery hot, for a full and through reforma∣tion, 2 Chron. 29.3. And Iosiah his grand-childe, when he was yet but young was nothing lesse, if not more eminent in this violent zeal than he. All the Altars, Groves, Images, and whatsoever o∣ther trinkets, reliques, and monuments of superstition were found in the land, he offered them up for a hecatomb, made a bone-fire of them, as you may see at large, 2 Chron. 34.3, 4, 5, &c.

You see now the chiefe Ingredients of this heroicall Disposition, Page  43 and straine of Spirit, and some few (for I cannot name all) of the principall operations of it, see now the Grounds and Reasons of it.

1. In respect of God 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Its meete and our bounden duty, that we should use all our violence, and if 'twere possible more then all, in matters of this nature; Its good councell that of the wise man, Eccles. 9.10. Whatsoever thine heart findes to do, do it with all thy might, slightnesse of heart in carrying on any busi∣nesse is naught, but worst of all in Religion, God likes it well when we put on to purpose, muster all our Forces,*and stir up our strength to lay hold of him, Esay 64.7. He lookes for what we can, Deut. 6.5. And if we offer him lesse than all, we might as well offer nothing. When our intentions in his Worship, are not screw∣ed up to this height, its a sign that our hearts are divided and cloven, and therefore hypocriticall: when the Jewes were carelesse and perfunctory in their devotions, and put God off with any sacrifices which came next to hand, he accounted this as a dishonour to him, and as a derogation to his Majesty and greatnesse, and there∣fore he thundred out a dreadfull curse against them, Mal. 1.14. If ye offer the blinde and the lame for sacrifice, is it not evill; offer it now un∣to thy governour, will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person, saith the Lord of Hosts, vers. 8. This carriage of theirs bewrayed plainely how little respect their hearts bare him. It was a cleere evidence against them, that they made him not their chiefe; therefore he lets them know how sensible he was of this disrespect, vers. 14. Cursed be he that having a male in his flock, offereth unto the Lord a corrupt thing, for I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts. If there be not a stamp and impression of zealous violence in all our religi∣ous addresses unto God, our deportment is not such as becomes the Majesty and greatnesse of such a King.

2 And as this violence is just and necessary in respect of God, who requires and calls for it at our hands, so is it also in respect of the prize it selfe, which is here contended and striven for, it being the Kingdome of heaven, and therefore well worthy of all the violence which we can use for it: to be eager and earnest in other things of an inferiour allay 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 it will not quit the cost, vio∣lence for the most part is above the proportion and value of them; but the Kingdome of God is a matter of the greatest importance and consequence of any other in the world. It is worthy of all Page  44 the courage, zeale, and resolution that we have; where can we lay them out better, or so well, as for the atchievement of a kingdom. The heathen man could say, Imperia pretio quolibet constant bene: A kingdom cannot be over bought, the crown Imperiall of a mortall Prince, it is a radiant and sparkling object; whatsoever a man payeth for it,* it is held a rich purchase notwithstanding. Agrip∣pina thought the Romane Empire a good penni-worth, though she bought it for her son Nero, a very wretch, with the losse of her own life. What violent running, wrestling and striving was there of old in the Olympique games? what combates and contentions? yet all was but for a corruptible crown, as the Apostle speakes, 1 Cor. 9.24, 25. The greatest reward they could looke for, was but a crown of Lawrell, a chaplet of flowers; and besides, they all ran in those masteries, and yet it was but one onely that could receive the prize: but we strive for an Incorruptible crown, and if we strive violently, as we ought, we shall all obtaine the prize we strive for; and when it is obtained, it will be more worth then all the crownes and diadems in the world.

The Crownes of the greatest earthly Monarchs, though the pearls in them be never so glistering, yet they are stuffed, for the most part, with such thornes, attended with so many piercing cares and sorrowes and discontents, that a wise man, if he should meete with one of them lying before him in the way, he would scarce thinke it worth the taking up; but the crowne of this King∣dome which we strive for, if by all the violence we can use in do∣ing or suffering we may win it at the last, it will super-abundantly make amends for all.

Its possible that we may, nay its certaine that we must endure much, if we will set our selves with obstinacy and violence to run this course; tis a Law enacted in heaven, That we must all through many tribulations, enter into the Kingdome of God, Act. 14.22. But this needs not discourage. If our suffering be great, our Reward is Hyperbolicall, 2 Cor. 4.17. Our light afflictions which are but for a moment,* what comparison betwixt them and the re∣ward which they work out for us, which is, a far more exceeding and eternall weight of glory. Its possible, in these plundring times, we may lose our estates, it skills not much; if we part with that which we cannot keep, to gaine that treasure which we cannot lose: The Primitive Christians, suffered the spoyling of their goods Page  45 with joy, knowing they had in heaven a better and more enduring sub∣stance, Heb. 10.34. It may be, whiles we are zealous for the ho∣nour of God, we shall be in danger to lose all our owne respect, and reputation among men; the black mouth of Calumny may as∣perse the loyalty of our intentions, and sully our Names with hor∣rid imputations of treason and Rebellion; Jehoiada did but endea∣vour to put down unjust usurpation, and to set up the right heire in this throne, and to draw the people into a Covenant with God, and yet Athalia cryed Treason, treason. Oh, but sayes Saint Peter, if ye suffer reproach for Christs sake, hapyy are ye, for the spirit of glo∣ry and of God rests upon you, 1 Pet. 4 14. A Christian is never so glorious as when he suffers most reproach and ignominy for Christs sake. There is nothing in the world, saith Chrisostome, no∣thing at all comparable to that glory.*When men revile and persecute you, and say all manner of evill against you falsly for my sake, rejoyce and be exceeding glad, saith our Saviour, for great is your reward in heaven, Math. 5.11. A dram of credit well lost, in a good cause, and for a good conscience, will amount to as much in the returne of it, as an eternall Crown of glory is worth: but we may haply yet further endanger our liberties, forfeit our dearest content∣ments, incurre the displeasure of our friends, lose our interests, yea our lives and all we have in this world: we could never bring them to a better market, we shall gaine an hundred for one, take his Word for it who cannot lye, you cannot desire better assurance, it being all which heaven and earth have to shew for their conti∣nuance, Luke 18.29. Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or Parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the King∣dome of Gods sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come, life everlasting.

Its a thriving trade indeede, thus to part with transitory things,* and gaine eternall, to exchange drosse for gold, peebles for pearles, withering flowers for an inaccessible crown: Who would not traffique in such a merchandize? Anselme hath a saying, That if a man could serve God, with all fervency of zeale and devotion, for a thousand yeeres, yet all this were as nothing in comparison of the happinesse to be for one halfe of a day in heaven; I will say yet more, If a man could performe all the vertuous exploytes, and suffer all the most exquisite tortures which all the Saints and Mar∣tyrs have suffered from the beginning of the world, yet all this Page  46 would not beare up the scales, nor hold any proportion of weight, so as in any sort to be judged worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed, Rom. 8.18. We can never therefore be over violent for this prize.

3. And as in respect of God and his Kingdom, this is necessary, so in respect of the enterprisers themselves; who, except they strain hard, presse on with much violence, might as well sit down, and set their hearts at rest, giving over the Kingdome of heaven and eternall Salvation, as a lost prize: cast your eyes about which way you will, whether on God, or your selves, or the world, enemies or friends, nothing can set before us the least door of hope that ever we shall come to heaven, Except we strive to enter in at the straight gate, Mat. 7.13.1. Looke upon God and you shall finde that he hath fixed it as an irreversible order, that such as strive for mastery, shall not be crowned, except they strive lawfully, 2 Tim. 2 5. We must conquer before we triumph; win the Garland before we weare it: we are too well conceited of our selves, and presume too much upon Gods love, without any just ground: if we expect that he should bring us by a nearer way, and shorter cut, unto eternall glory, than he did his onely begotten son, who came not easily by his crowne, his conquest over death and hell, and the spoyles ta∣ken from them, were not Salmacida spolia sine sanguine & sudore, spoyles got without sweat or blood-shed, for he did both sweat and bleed in his striving and strugling for them; and I do not finde where entrance into heaven is proposed unto us but upon such like termes in quality, I meane not in equality which is impossible. Revel. 2.3. To him that overcommeth will I give to sit with me on my Throne, even as I also overcame and am set downe with my Father in his Throne: Loe here God hath held out his Kingdome as a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an honourable prize, for brave spirits to contend and scuffle for: this is the just price which he hath pitcht, He that overcomes, the Crown is his, upon other termes it cannot be expected. The old rule was 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; The Gods sell all for sweate, and it is indeed true, that there is nothing of worth in all this world which can be got better cheap: a Scholler cannot compasse any competency of skill in the Arts and Sciences without much study and travell; Multa tulit fecitque puer sudavit & alsit, it will cost much sweat and much toyle to excell in learning. A mechanicall artificer cannot thrive nor grow rich in his ordinary trade, without Page  47 more then ordinary diligence; and shall we think the Kingdome of heaven will come dropping in our laps, whilst we sit still and fold our hands, and will do nothing, or that which is to as little purpose as nothing, for it.

I confesse that of Tertullian in proper speech is most true,* That nothing of or belonging unto God can be either bought or sold; God is a most liberall Benefactor and gives us all things, even his Kingdome too, freely; we have nothing that good is, in relation to time or eternity, but it comes in upon us as a gratuity; and we for our parts 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, we have no price in our hands to give in exchange for such blessings, especially the Kingdom of hea∣ven, which his more worth then all the world, though turned into a Globe of gold or mountaine of Diamonds, yet it is as true in another sence, That all the blessings of God, yea even the King∣dome of heaven too, must be traded and trafficked for; Salomon calls in customers to the shop of truth, and he requires them to buy it; and our Saviour commends this practise in two parables,* The one of a rich Treasure, the other of a precious pearle, Mat. 13.44, &c. Many such like expressions we meete with every where in the Scripture, all which import a kinde of trading and trafficking with God, for the great things of his Kingdom, which must be bought and purchased by laying out whatsoever we are or have,* for them. When we offer him the flower of our desires, the high∣est pitch of our affections, and the marrow of our best endeavours, this is pretium legitimum, God will accept of it, as of a just and currant price; and if any bid short of it, and will not be at such cost for heaven; I can give him no other comfort but this, He may go to hell, if he please, good cheap.

2. Looke we towards our selves, or the world about us, and we shall finde all the contention and violence we can use,* no lesse then necessary: The Kingdom of heaven is unto us as Canaan was unto the Israelites, a Land of promise indeed, but yet a land of conquest too; there is a multitude of Gyants, the sonnes of Anak that we must encounter with, and prevaile over, ere we can take possession of it; there be Gyant-like corruptions in our owne hearts, which will finde us work enough to resist, and much more to over-come them; sometimes our unbeleefe will dash our hopes, melt our cou∣rage, emasculate our resolution as it was with the Israelites, and the ten low-spirited Spies, which gave over Canaan as desperate, Page  48 because of its fenced Cities, and high battlements, and the sonnes of Anak the great Zanzummims that lay in the way, we had neede of a mighty violent operation of faith, to over-looke and over-master such difficulties: sometimes Ambition will solicite us with a baite of honour, and other-whiles covetousnesse will tempt us with a bribe, to stop our course; and either, altogether to let our de∣signe fall,* or else to be more remisse and moderate in the pursuance of it; here if we be not violent, we lye open to much danger. Its no hard matter for temptations to break in and prevaile, when our desires linger after such things, when our affections are but luke∣warme, and our resolutions not steady, now we are upon the point of being betray'd; a faint deny all begets new suites, and a doore left unbarred gives easie entrance, When we cleave not unto God with full purpose of heart, Act. 11.23. Other things will get in betwixt him and us. Its onely a Spirit steeled with Christian resolution, that can make a man in such assaults steady and unmoveable like to the Roman Fabritius, of whom it was said, That one might as well offer to stay the motion of the sun in the firmament, as to put him out of his way; sometimes carnall policy will endeavour to take us off, and sometimes ease and sloath will retard us; and sometimes carnall feare will hold out a Gorgons head of dangers and discou∣ragements, telling us there is a Lyon in the way, and that it is bet∣ter to sit still then to bestir our selves, and be active, when there is so small probability of successe. These, and a world of such other oppositions and encumbrances, we shall be sure to meete with from our selves;* we have a traytor that lyes in our owne bosome, an adversary in our brest, which will ever and anon endeavour to kill Christ in us, as Hierome speakes, and to smother all desires, mo∣tions, and affections, which proceede from him, or breath after him.

*3. Nor is there lesse opposition to be expected from the world, both friends and enemies will interpose hinderances and blockes sometimes, which we may have much ado to leap over, The world is never more prevalent then when it comes alluring and wooing us in a way of love, with sweete promises and pleasing blandish∣ments. When that Noble Italian Marquesse Galeatius Caracciolus was solicited with great offers of preferment from the Emperour and Pope to draw him off from his Religion, it was a shrew'd temptation, and would no doubt have taken with him, if he had Page  49 been of a flexible Spirit, but he returned this peremptory answer, I esteem one dayes communion with Jesus Christ, in the Gospell, above all the honours and riches in the world; If carnall friends and coun∣sellors assault us, with bewitching entreaties, to worke us to a complyancy, we shall be hard put to it, to turn them off; except we violently stop our eares, against their pleasing charmes, as Ʋlysses did against the Syrens Songs. It may happen sometimes, that our neerest kindred and acquaintance, our dearest parents, or the wives of our bosome, may with weeping eyes, and moving words, winde about us, and offer to mis-perswade us,* as Dalilah did Sampson; and to draw us from God, as Peter would have done our Saviour with, Master, Pitty thy selfe; and it will be a great degree of violence, to shake them off as Christ did him, with, Get thee behinde me Sathan: or as Saint Hierome exhorts in this case, to trample upon the gray beard of our Father, to treade upon the wombe of our Mother that bare us; to shake off children and Nephewes, as S. Paul shook off the Viper from off his hands. It must be a fixed and all-conquering resolution, that can, like Sampson, snap a sunder such cords, and not be bound with them.

4. And if it be no easie matter, to make good our resolutions,* against the batteries, which we our selves, and our friends too of∣ten raise against them; surely then we had neede of Robur & as triples circa pectus, a brest-plate of Adamant, an helmet of steele, to make us impenetrable against the hail-shot of opposition, which we must expect from our enemies; the more close we cleave to God, and the more we separate in our wayes and courses, from the world; so much greater will be the rage of the devill, and his a∣gents against us, to vex us with all harsh tryalls. If we be so vio∣lently bent, that nothing will serve our turne, but a full and through Reformation of Doctrine, Worship, and Government; we shall meete with as fierce opposition as the Jews in Ezra and Nehemiahs time did: a mighty Court-faction, and a Potent Army will be raised against us, so as we shall be forced to build the Temple, as they did; with a sword in one hand, and a trowell in the other.

If the three children, would have beene content to conforme themselves to the Court Religion, and to resigne their consciences to the Kings pleasure, all had beene well enough; but when they declared a contrary resolution, and were as stiffe as oakes, and Page  50 would not yeeld,* then there was but one way with them; an arti∣ficiall hell was prepared, and they must be cast into the burning fiery furnace, Dan. 3.15. It is, and ever hath beene the elaborate and great designe of the world, saith S. Cyprian, to strangle Christ in his cradle, as soone as ever he begins to be shaped, and formed, and brought forth in the manners and conversation of a Christian, now to kill him in his Infancy.

The Church met with no persecution, that we reade of, whiles she lay slumbring in her drowzie bed, and opened not the doore to her beloved that knocked, but when she arose and went about the City, and left no corner unsearched, and made all the towne know who she was in love with; now she falls into the Inquisition; the Pre∣laticall Faction met with her; the watch-men and keepers of the wals wound d her, and tooke away her vaile, with other course usage, Cant. 5.7. When the blinde man had the eyes of his minde, as well as of his body, so far enlightned, that he declared himselfe in the face of the Court, to stand for Christ; now there was no re∣medy but he must be excommunicated; for the Pontificall tribe had made a Canon, That whosoever confessed Christ, should be put out of the Synagogue, John 9.22, 34. If once we begin to advance in good earnest, and set forward towards heaven, it will not be long to be sure,* ere some furious storme of persecution be raised, to drive us back againe (if possible) to the gates of hell. In all these, and sundry other respects, there must be much fervency in our desires, affectionate obstinacy in our resolutions and endeavours, much wrestling and conflicting with God and our selves, friends, and enemies; or else admission, and entrance into the Kingdome of heaven is a thing to be despaired of.

I come now to inferences of use and practise, and to omit others which offer themselves in variety: I pitch upon three onely. 1. For Instruction. 2. For Reproofe. 3. For Exhortation. For Instruction in two Branches.

1. This may informe us, That Salvation is a prize, not so easily won, as its commonly Imagined. There is an opinion in the world; * Paulus Tarnovius calls it, Novum Evangelium, A new Gospell; that if so be a man professe the true Religion, and be Or∣thodox in his Judgement, and not grosly notorious for any enor∣mious crymes, in his conversation; if he come to Church, and heare the Word, and receive the Sacraments, and have forme of Godli∣nesse, Page  51 though not the power and life of it; why then such a man shall certainely be saved. This new Gospell, as that Reverend and worthy Divine calls it, is an old Delusion and fallacy of Sa∣than, which hath prevailed in the world from the beginning; and in all ages, jugled thousands out of their Salvation; and whereso∣ever it is received, and entertained, it will be the destruction, not of particular persons alone, but of whole States and Kingdomes, as it was of the old world, and the Jewish Common-wealth, and of Germany too, now of late; if the judgement of that learned man mistooke not its marke. Oh this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as Nazian∣zen speakes; this new Gospell without charges, this cheap Religi∣on, which would open us such an easie way, with a few good words, with a little wholsome breath, to purchase the Kingdome of heaven, we could rellish it well; its marvellous pleasing and delightfull to our lazie and sluggish dispositions. As Marcus Lepi∣dus when he stretched himself, and lay along on the grasse;*O uti∣mam hoe esst laborare: Oh, saith he, that this were to labour, and to get the Mastery: so many of us, when we stretch ourselves, on our beds, like them in Amos, and live at ease in Sion, denying no∣thing to our carnall affections and appetites, which we have a minde to; Oh, say we, that this were to be violent for the Kingdom of heaven, for then we would list our Names, and be as forward as who most: but let us not be deceived, The Kingdome of God consists not in Words, but in power, I Cor. 4.20. If Christianity were a soft and delicate profession, were the way to heaven over green meddowes, and floury plaines, strewed with Roses and Violet; and not beset with tryers and thornes, with difficulties, encum∣brances, and oppositions; every Agrippa would then be not onely almost, but altogether perswaded to be a Christian, every prophane Esau would come in for a share, none would sit out:* but heaven is not got with a wish, nor Paradise with a song. Remission of sinnes, and the Graces of Regeneration, they are not obtained with a sigh, victory over all oppositions from earth and hell, is not at∣chieved with a breath: its not dull and faint wishes, cold and lan∣guishing velleities, feeble and heardlesse endeavours, that can hope to win the crowne of Glory, there must be passionate longings and breakings of the heart, with continuall desires after God: the operation of Gods Word upon us, must be as a burning fire shut up in our bones, Jer. 20.9. Our zeale for God must eate us up, Page  52Psal. 69.9. We must be valiant for the truth, Jer. 9.3. Resist opposi∣tions and temptations unto blood, Heb. 12.4. Else were there as ma∣ny heavens as there be dayes in the yeere, we are never like to arrive in any of them.

2. This may let us see what we are to judge of temper and mo∣deration in matters of Religion. In other things it is a vertue and worthy of much praise, and it is not to be denyed, That even in Religion too, there are some things, in which it may have place. When there was too much heate in the Church of Rome, about some matters of indifferency, not much importing any way, the Apostle to calme both parties, and to compose them unto mode∣ration, and mutuall bearing with one another; The Kingdome of God, saith he, is not meate and drinke, but righteousnesse, and peace, and joy in the holy Ghost, Rom. 14.17. All truth carries Gods stampe, and is pretious, but not alike; there be some truths of such moment and consequence, as that they cannot be over violent∣ly striven for; but there be others of an inferiour alloy which need not be held, much lesse pressed upon others, with so hard a hand, such are not a few speculative opinions and rituall practises, in matters of externall Worship; in contending about which, if the excesses of zeale, were corrected and allayed, with a little coo∣ling of moderation, no doubt it would be much better then now it is with the Church of God.* Its a good rule to this purpose, that of the famous Chauncellour of Paris: Honey is good with the honey comb, and so is the Savour of Devotion, when it is seasoned with a discreete mixture of moderation.

But although it be true, that in these punctilioes, as it were, in Religion, moderation is a Jewell, yet in the profession and practise of those maine fundamentalls of Faith, and Worship, with other superstructions, neerly bordering and coasting thereupon, it is far o∣therwise. In these things its easie to be too moderate, but impossible to be over violent.* If we seeme to be transported into an extasie, so as the world judgeth us to be besides our selves, it matters not much; If we be besides our selves, it is unto God, 2 Cor. 5.13. Reli∣gion is a tender businesse, and of great concernment; the glory of God, and our Salvation, depends on it; and as Calvin said, of drawing too much water out of the well of life; so may I, of drawing out our Spirits in too much violence for the honour of God. I do not know where any man is blamed in all the Scripture Page  53 for such a fault. If it were possile that in hearing the Word, a man were all eare, if in prayer he could be rapt up into an extasie in mourning for sin, if he could melt out his soule at his eyes; in all the other parts of worship and practises of piety, could he be all devotion, and pure, pute zeale, it would become him well, and there should be no danger of excesse; How is it possible, that we should have too much of that whereof we can never have enough?

The world is generally of another minde, a little violence in matters of Religion, a very little upon the knives point will suf∣fice, a dram or two is enough of all conscience; but for moderati∣on, as much of that as you will, the more the better; This is the opinion of Politicians, Court-Divines, and all the rest of that stampe, they cry up that bosome-Idoll of discretion, as the onely fit temper, for a wise and well-composed Christian; and if spark∣lings of zeale, breake out, and discover themselves, If any violence appeare, this they cry down as faction, folly, frenzie. It hath in∣deede beene ever so with this wise world in all ages.

When our Saviour was so wholly taken up with the great af∣faires of the Kingdome of God, rising up early to Preach, and continuing often whole nights in prayer, so as he had no leasure, no not to eate; his friends out of meere pitty, good folkes, sent to lay hold on him; for they sayd, he was gone besides himselfe, Mark. 3.21. The like censure past upon Saint Paul, because he was earnest and zealous in the cause of God, it was thought he was gone mad, the man sure had lost his discretion. Act. 26.24. And Saint Basil when he was passionately eager against the Arrian faction, then prevalent at Court, this was interpreted a symptome of dotage. If men will not be baffled out of their Religion, the wise world counts them fooles, and furious zealots, and complains sore of them, for want of moderation. The lesse wonder it is that our Honou∣rable Senate, which hath shewed so much zeal for God, should meete with the same measure, from Malignant and ill-affected spi∣rits. Among other virulent invectives, this is clamored against your Religious proceedings, with the greatest noyse, That you are and have been over violent;* Oh you have undon the Kingdom with an high and Imperious reformation, you have let it blood in the Basiliks veine: In sum, the Physicke hath been worse then the di∣sease, such cavils and calumnies, are rife against you, in the mouths of your enemies, who in this, like Lapwings, cry aloofe from their Page  54 nests, the truth is, they have a bitter, and most enraged despight a∣gainst you, for preventing, and counter-myning their execrable and Acheronticall designes: they hate you most of all because you will not suffer them to destroy three Kingdomes, and to pull up Religion and property by the roots. This is the ground of their ma∣levolent aspersions; ferrit their complaints to the bottome, and you shall finde that this is it, That you have with all your force and strength resisted them who would destroy us all, ruine Religi∣on, introduce Popery and Tyranny, and purchase the meanes of damnation to us and our posterity. Hinc ille lachrymae, Hence are these vollies of slanders, reproaches, and imputations discharged against you, in which the enemies deale alike with you, for all the world, as Fimbria a mad fellow of Rome, dealt with Scaevola, a∣gainst whom having a quarrell, and endeavouring to murther him, with a sudden stab; because he braided aside a little, and warded the blow, so as it proved not mortall, therefore he commenced an Action of trespasse against him, and sued him at the Law; and wot you what was the Indictment, Quod telum toto corpore non exce∣pisset, For that he would not open his body, and suffer him to run up his dagger unto the hilts.

Or as Caligula when he practised to poyson a man, in a slye un∣derhand way, and the man suspecting the worst, tooke a counter-poyson to prevent the mischiefe: the gentle, kind-natured Empe∣rour, thought it was foule play, and complained much of the Ini∣quity of the times; that men would be taking Antidotes against Caesar. No doubt a very haynous crime, a just and rationall com∣plaint and sibbe to this against us, that we will not all lye downe and quietly suffer our throats to be cut, our Cities fired, countries wasted, and all we have, taken from us.

But to return to the matter, whence I have a little strayed, just in∣dignation transporting me: Honoured worthies, you will, I know like the Moone in the heavens, hold on your course, though dogs and bawling curres, barke never so much, you shall never have cause to repent of your zeale and piety towards God; the next mor∣ning after you are arrived in heaven, you will thinke all your la∣bour and cost well bestowed, and repent (were it possible) that you have not done, and suffered more; and for the present, the lesse respect and thankes you finde from wicked men, the more esteeme and honour you shall have with God, and all that are vertuously Page  55 disposed; yea that zeale and piety of yours, for which you are so much maligned, and traduced it shall make your memory precious unto the present age, and to all posterity; and when the names of your enemies shall rot above ground (as they do already) and they themselves shall be rung down with a peale of Satyres to their graves, your names shall be as sweete as perfume, the generations to come shall embalme them with honour, the children yet unborn shall rise up, and call you blessed, and every one that reades your Chronicles, or heares of your worthy acts, shall say, This was the Reforming Parliament, which did, and suffered more for God, then ever any that was before it; many Parliaments have done worthily, but this hath excelled them all.

2 This Text and Doctrine may serve like the knuckles of a mans hand, appearing on the wall to Balshazzor,* to write unto many their sad doome, to reade them their destiny, they are never like to come neere to the Kingdome of heaven. Of this sort are not a few:

1. Such as are enemies to the progresse and proceedings of the Gospell, whether close and secret, or open and notorious; there be many glozing Malignants, that can bite in their malice, calme their lookes, smooth their foreheads; but their hearts swell like the Sea in a storme: If they could raise any tempests, cause any commo∣tion, and the occasions and junctures of affaires would permit them to do it with advantage, we should taste as much of their Malig∣nity, as of the most desperate opposers, Gebal, Ammon, and Ama∣leck they are now knotted together in a confederacy, and up in Armes; pillaging, spoyling, plundering, and laying all waste be∣fore them, With a rage that reacheth up unto heaven, 2 Chron. 28.9. Tobiah and Sanballet were not in a more pelting chafe, when the Temple and City of Jerusalem were like to be reëdified. Herod and Jerusalem were not more troubled when they heard that sad and damping newes, That Christ was borne, then these malignants and Incendiaries are startled at the noyse of a Reformation. The pow∣erfull comming in of Christ into his Kingdome, the Majesty and lustre of pure Worship and Ordinances is unto them (night-birds as they are) formidable as the sun-shine to the Owle, or as the light of heaven to Cerberus the dogge of hell; they abhor it as the darknesse and shadow of death. Oh the bright star of Jacob the rising and Orient lustre of it, to such as love darkenesse better then Page  56 light, it is of an Ominous and dismall presage, it portends their kingdome will come downe, their mis-giving hearts are afraid of the scorching Influence of it, as the devills were of Christs com∣ming, lest it should torment them before the time, Mat. 8.29. And now, is it possible, trow ye, that such sonnes of Belial, to whom the presence of Christ in his Ordinances and Worship, is the grea∣test burthen and torment, and as it were an hell upon earth; Is it possible that such should ever expect or conceive the least hope of reigning with him for ever in heaven? Oh, yes, they pretend for heaven as much, and as loud as any others, and they are for Religi∣on too, even for the true Reformed Protestant Profession, and they are zealous, yea violent for it, and that is the reason (you must beleeve them) why they have drawne their swords, and taken up Armes; Its for no other end doubtlesse, but to defend the true Protestant profession, with his Majesties just Prerogative and Crown-rights, which the Parliament with the faction of Brownists, and Ana∣baptists that adhere to it endeavour to destroy. Its a true saying that of the Romane Orator, * There is nothing so horrid, no cause so desperate, which may not be palliated and covered over with glo∣rious and glittering pretences; As Herod would have the wisemen bring him word, when they had found Christ, for he meant to come and worship the babe, when his intent was to slay it. But as Tertul∣lian wittily told the Gentiles, when they contended so fiercely for the worship of Jupiter, That whatsoever they pretended, Caesar was their chiefe God, and that they worshipped him with more devotion, then Jupiter; The like may I say of these Herodians, or Court-zealots, call them what you will, and let them pretend what they list for God, they are Caesars by whole-sale in Religion, affe∣ction, conscience, soule, and body, and all Caesars; they measure Religion by the length of the Scepter, being resolved to beleeve the worst of Popery, and to practise the worst of Tyranny, even to the destruction of the three Kingdomes,* if Caesar do but please to declare the one to be the True Reformed Protestant Profession, and the other, The due Rights and Priviledges of Parliament; much like the Boutefew that Tully speakes of, C. Blos: Cumanus I think it was, that would, to shew his affection to his friend, do whatso∣ever he should bid him, though it were to set fire on the Capitoll.

2 Not all out so desperate, though bad enough, is another sort of neutralizing temporizers, that are just of Gallios temper, for matter Page  57 of Religion, not caring a jot whether the Arke or Dagon be set up, whether Christ or Antichrist prevaile, the true Religion or Popery, both, or neither, to them is a matter of indifferency, and not so much as the turning of an hand; they passe not at all for such things; onely, they have the discretion to set their sayles as the wind blowes, and to wheele about as they see occasion, that they may be of the prevayling side; much like the man in Macrobius, who du∣ring the times of civill war betwixt Antony and Augustus Caesar, had with much Art and diligence taught his two crowes their se∣verall notes, the one to say Ave Imperator Antoni, the other, Ave Imperator August; that so when the warres should be over, and the controversie determined, whether party soever prevayled, he might be sure to have a bird for the Conquerour.* If there chance to be any such within these walls, I wish they would sadly and ripe∣ly consider that speech of our Saviour, He that is not with me is a∣gainst me, Mat. 12.30. and that grave expression of a great Pre∣late, This cause of God is of that Nature, that if a man do not ap∣peare in it, and gather with Christ, he scattereth from him, there being no middle condition possible in which a man can close or side with any other than the devill, who joynes not with Christ.

3. Such as value their wealth, ease, credit, reputation, above Christ and his Kingdome; to come to Church now and then, to heare the Word, performe some cheape outward duties which may looke like a forme of godlinesse, none will, blame them for this. It were disgracefull to be Atheists; unprofitable to be Papists, or recusants, thus far they go and its faire too, but to be at any ex∣pence for Christ, to purchase his kingdom with any prejudice to themselves in their credit or estates, he must pardon them for that: they love a Religion (contrary to Davids disposition) which will cost them nothing; these have taken the Covenant, many of them onely to save charges, for they spare not to professe that they will trust God with their soules (though they perjure) rather then the Parliament with their Estates. They will lash out more in fur∣nishing a banket, or some unnecessary entertainment, spend more in one cast at Bowles or Dice, then ever they can be gotten to part with all their life long, for the glory of God, the upholding of his cause, and Gospell, and the preservation of an 100000. Christians, in the three Kingdomes: the men of this world, they are violent Page  58 for their Mammon: Give them the fatnesse of the earth, Take the dew of heaven who will: A right brood of old Gadarens, who can be content to have a whole Legion of Devils roost in the Kingdome, and nestle in their own hearts, as in strong holds, rather than they will be at so much cost, as the losse of their hoggs, to purchase the dispossession of them.

4. There be others that seeme violent in matters of Religion, none more forward in appearance then they, but they are not sin∣cere and cordiall. As it is with them that are sicke of a Fever, while the face and outward parts burne, the heart quakes and shi∣vereth with cold, so it is with these pretenders; their countenance, Jehu like, is full of flushing heate; in their face and outward car∣riage you may see their zeale for the Lord,* but if you could put but your hands within their brests, you should finde their hearts Nabal-like, as cold as a stone. Its no new devise, but an old trick of hypocriticall spirits,* to seeme devout onely for their owne ends, to drive their own designes under a colour of being zealous for God. Ignatius observed, there were some of this stamp in his time, who made a trade and an occupation of Christ, to get wealth by him, shuffling in Religon, to deale themselves a thriving game in the world.

I know not whether it be true, but the Vox Populi, the Common opinion and voyce of the people is, That in Country, City, Armies, I hope not in the Parliament, there are and have beene too many, who in publike places of Imployment, at the publike charge, drive their private designes; enjoying both at once, and improving the miseries of the times by dilatory proceedings, dead pay, false musters, betraying of advantages, and letting opportunities of acti∣on slip, with other stratagems and feates of pollicy, very depths of Sathan, profound as hell, which I have not wit enough to reach. If there be any such Judas's, masked devills, here, let me informe them; If their bosome intelligencer, their Consciences I meane, be asleepe, perhaps it may arouse them a little, that thunderbolt, Esay 29.15. Wo unto them that dig deepe, and seeke to hide their Counsell from the Lord, and their workes are in the darke, and they say, who see∣eth, and who knoweth us: and let them take that along with them too, Esay 30.33. There is a Tophet prepared of old, its deepe and large, the pile thereof is fire and much wood, the breath of the Lord like a streame of brimstone kindles it; and let me tell them yet further, Page  59 If this fiery gulfe be not for such, I do not know whether it can challenge any guests.

5. There be others, zealous in Religion, but not enough; they have like the Laodiccan Angell and Church, some heate which makes them luke-warme, but they are not violent, their dram of zeale is tempered with so many ounces of discretion, that the operation of it can scarce be discerned; they are Orthodox in opi∣nion, not much exorbitant in conversation, owne the great cause of the Kingdom, set their faces towards heaven, are not against Reformation: but then they must not be over-driven, you must not put them out of their owne pace, they like not a Jehu's March. Its good to be zealous, but not too much, say any what they will, doe what they can,* their affected moderation will never suffer them to exceede the middle temper of that wise Statesman in Tiberius his Court, who to be sure would not strike a stroke against the streame, nor engage himselfe so far in any cause, as might tend to his prejudice; how-ever the world went, he would be sure to save one. Such is the polititian and wordly wise-man, he will move no stone, though never so needfull to be removed, if he suspect that there lyes a Scorpion under it, or if he apprehend the least feare, that any part of the wall will fall upon himselfe; well fare yet the Roman Consul, that incomparable patriot,* who in his private and retired condition, when he was removed from the Helme of the Common-wealth, imployed all his force and strength to keep off those waves from the great vessell of the State, which had well-nigh drowned the cock-boat of his owne private Fortunes.

6. There be others zealous and violent for a while, but they hold not out to the end: The Philosopher sayes, No violent thing lasts long, Its true in Divinity, as well as in Nature: If the violent motion proceede from some externall artificiall cause, and not from a rooted stirring principle within, when that which is the cause is removed, the motion arising from it ceaseth. If our vio∣lent stirrings and heates of zeale, be not from the right fountaine of heate, the heart; tract of time and other occurrances will be calm them by degrees, and wear them out: the stony ground set forward, and put on with great animosity at the first, but when difficulties and unlooked for dangers, when a storme of persecution arose, then they plucked in the tender horne, their zeale cooled, their courage abated, their resolutions fell like leaves in Autumne. In the begin∣ning Page  60 of this Parliament, when the Lord tolled us on with fresh mercies, and allured us into the wildernesse as the Prophet speakes, that there he might give us the valley of Achor for a doore of hope; when every day we were pasti miraculis as Cyprian speakes, feasted with miracles in ordinary, the Lord setting himselfe on purpose to ingage us firmely in his worke, by divers rare and astonishing pro∣vidences, that all bridges might be cut off, and that we might never thinke to retire backe againe; At that time, many that were not sound at the heart-roote, joyned with us, and who more resolute then they, but when the wheele of Providence seemed to turne, and many sad clouds began to gather and threaten a storme, now they tacked about, and set their sailes backe; they were willing to follow us out of Egypt when they had seene the wonders and mi∣racles of God at our departure thence; but when they came into the wildernesse, and met with Scorpions and fiery Serpents, and great afflictions, then their hearts fainted, and they fell on murmur∣ing as the unbeleeving Jewes, and that mixed multitude did, Numb. 11.4. A man might as well never own the cause of God, as after∣wards desert it; whatsoever a man hath done and suffered for Re∣ligion, (and there be many that have done and suffered much,) Its al lost and forgotten, when once he begins to looke backe, Ezek. 18.24. Judas, and Demas, and Hymaeneus, and Alexander the Copper-smith, with other such flinchers; what were they the better for all their hopefull beginnings, when afterwards they declined, their zeale-being all spent, their violence tyred, and all their alacrity lost. Its not good beginnings, but perseverance in Religion, that takes this glorious prize, and wins the garland. Be faithfull unto the death and I will give thee a Crown of life. Revel. 2.10.

7. I may not passe over another sort without a gentle touch, such I meane as are unfeinedly cordiall in the cause of God, and zealous for it, yet do not a little hurt to themselves and others, and the Cause it selfe too, through their indescreete and unwary managing of it: they desire nothing more then this, That Christ might raigne, and weild the Scepter of his Kingdom, according to his own hearts content, in all the parts of the Land; they are active in endeavours for Reformation, and this deserves just praise, but they step out of their bounds sometimes, exceede the limits of their speciall cal∣ling in which the Will of God is, they should containe them∣selves.

Page  61How happy were it for us, if all would keepe within their pro∣per spheare, and wherein so ever they are called therein, to abide with God, 1 Cor. 7.24. But there be some that do 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉overstretch themselves beyond their line and Compasse, 2 Cor. 10.14. They reach and straine after a perfect Reformation of the Church, and that is well, but they run before the Parliament, and do anticipate the worke, taking it out of those able and faithfull hands, unto which God hath committed it, and that deserves just censure.*That have a great zeale of God, Oh that it were a little more according to knowledge! We have all entred into the bonds of a Religious Co∣nant with God, in which among other things we have vowed our utmost endeavours to reforme Religion, Worship, Govern∣ment, according to the Word of God, and the example of the best Reformed Churches; and withall, to draw the Churches of God in the three Kingdomes, to the nearest uniformity; and to labour the extirpation of heresies, sects, and schismes, which how we can make good, if every one take liberty to reare up a modell and platforme, according to his owne principles, without respect un∣to publique, Authority I cannot see. How can it be avoyded, but there will be divisions in the worke, when those that should carry it on, act severall wayes without any regard to one another. I wish such would consider, that zeale in Religion, though it be exceeding good and necessary, yet it needes a sober guide: much wisedome is requisite to prescribe when and where, and how far, and in what manner and order to proceede in carrying on a worke of so great consequence, as a publique Church-Reformation is. Zeale, except it be ordered aright, in conflicting with corruptions and abuses, whether reall or pretended, useth the razor sometimes with such eagernesse, that Religion it selfe is thereby endangered, and through hatred of tares, the good corne in the field of God is pluckt up. That which Isocrates said of strength, is as true of zeale, that if it be tempered with sound wisedome, and a right Judgement,* it doth much good, but without such a mixture it doth much mischiefe to our selves and others, like Granadoes and other fire Workes, which if they be not well looked to, and discreetly ordered, when they break, do more hurt to those that cast them, then to the enemy: no man can be ignorant of the ill effects of an indiscreet and ill go∣verned zeale, which like unto a fire, when it burnes out of com∣passe, sets all the house and towne in a combustion: It may per∣haps, Page  62 justly be doubted, whether a too slack moderation, or an over-violent zeale,* be worse; seeing the one does no good, and the other does much hurt; discretion, without zeale, is slow paced; and zeale without discretion, heady; take therefore St. Bernards counsell, let zeale spur on discretion, and discretion reine zeale, joyne them both together, and the conjunction will be lovely.

*I would not willingly drop one word to quench one sparke of any true Heaven-bred zeale, my errand is as our Saviours was, ra∣ther to kindle this fire, Luke 12.49. which every Sacrifice must be salted with, Marke 9.4. Let us all labour to blow up and to keepe alive this Sacred fire, upon the Altar of our hearts, that it may in∣flame our devotion towards God, kindle our love towards men, and burne out all our owne corruptions; let it never coole with age, nor abate with opposition, nor be quenched with any floods of persecution whatsoever.

*1. As the Apostle said of patience, so may I of zeale, we have all neede of it, especially Reformers. 1. Because of the glory of God, which we ought to have a tender resentment of, more then of our owne lives, or whatsoever is deare or precious unto us in this world. Our Saviour resented the injuries and reproaches offered unto God, as done unto himselfe, Rom. 15.2 Because of the ho∣nour and happinesse of the Church, which we ought to prefer be∣fore all our owne Interests, Psal. 137.6. I have read of Ambrose, that he was so zealous for the Church, that he wished any storme might light upon himselfe, rather then the State of it should be en∣dangered:* Reverend Calvin would be content, to saile over ten Seas for an uniforme draught of Religion, amongst the Evangelicall Churches. Moses and Paul were so transcendent in this kinde of zeale, that they would have redeemed the Churches losses with their owne damnation. 3 Because of the great difficulties and obstru∣ctions which we must make account to encounter with. If you set your faces towards Sion, the Jebusites hold it, which you must remove, with an Host of Idolls to boote, even the blind and the lame, the abhorring of Davids soule, or else you shall never take the Fort, 2 Sam. 5, 6, 7. If you will endeavour with Elias to put down the Priests of Baal, Jezabel will send you a message of defiance, threat∣ning to make the Land too hot for us: There are many Lyons that lye in our way; its onely a zealous violence that can Sampson-like get victory over them, and honey out of them. If we declare our Page  63 for heaven, all the faction and power of hell will be up in Armes against us. Therefore we have neede of much violence.

2. This will stand us in much stead.* 1. It will make us bold and daring, it will put us upon the uttermost adventures.* Love and zeale will, if neede be, run upon the Cannons mouth, dare through deaths gauntlet, Cant. 8.7. Esther knew not whether she should pre∣vaile, yet she would venture, though to the apparent hazarding of her Crowne and life, Est. 4.16. Zeale and love blush at the Name of difficulty. 2. It will quicken you up to mighty endeavours;* a bow full bent will violently deliver the Arrow, and carry it home to the marke with full strength; a peece full charged will go off with great force. A zealous Christian is like a ship, saith Clemens,* carried on with full sayles towards heaven. 3. It will make you constant and steady; That's no heaven-borne violence, which tract of time or opposition weares out. True zeal is like the Philosophers 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a sparkling firy stone, no floods can quench it. 4. It will make us prevalent and successefull in our endeavours, if any thing in the world can. Love is a pleasing Tyrant, saith Chryso∣stome, the power of it is above all power,* it raignes over all impe∣diments in heaven and earth, prevailing both with God and man as Jacob did.

This zeale then being so necessary and usefull, labour we to get our hearts stored with it, and see that it be of the right stampe, sin∣cere and upright, ayming onely at the right end, Gods glory and the Churches good. Let there be no sonnes of Zebedee among us, to project for themselves places of honour at the right hand or the left, when Christ comes into his Kingdome; away with all pri∣vate designes, preserve we our intentions single and sincere, and we shall prosper the better. 2. Let our zeale flame out upon all occa∣sions, let nothing smother the operation of it: Aristotle writes of the bathes in the Pythecusian Islands, that they are fiery hot,* yet send out no flame; I cannot commend such a zeale, which is smothered and pent up in the heart, and gets no vent, hath no externall opera∣tion; a treasure concealed, and an hidden vertue are both alike. When that prophane King had burnt the Roll, the Prophet wrote it over againe with an addition of many other like words, Jer. 36.32. The more Gods Worship, Ordinances, Servants, are opposed, the more will true-hearted Zealots appeare for them, to assist and vindicate them. They write of a fish that hath a sword, but no heart, Page  64but I hope better things of you. 3. Let your zeale be guided by the right Rule,* which is the Word of God. In al your consultations and resolutions, let the Law and the Testimony be your Oracle. Its a Kingdome of heaven that you are bound for, and therefore your course must be like that of the Mariners, guided by the heavens. If you steere your course by any other line, sure you will never a∣rive where you would be, at the faire havens. The Heathens them∣selves never undertooke any great worke about the affaires of state,* till they had consulted the face of the Heavens: what they did out of blind superstition, do you from a principle of true Religion. 4. When you have taken your aimes right, and made choyce of fit meanes to compasse them,* let God alone with the successe, he will make good the issue, and turne all to the best. As Quintillian said of a Pilot,* so may I of you, whiles you hold the stearne and guide the compasse right, you cannot be blamed, although the great ves∣sell of the State should be cast away, and wracked in the storme, which yet I hope it never will be.

*Furthermore it concernes us all in common, but you more especially, most worthy Patriots; not onely to labour for our owne particulars, to take hold on this Kingdom with all violence, but also to prepare way for others, that they may come up to it, or rather indeede that it may come downe to them. As David therefore in a violent ravishment of desire, that the Temple might be built, cryed, Psal. 24.9 10. Lift up your heads oh ye gates, and be ye lift up ye everlasting doores, and the King of glory shall come in; So let me addresse the like desire to you, that are the Heads of our Tribes, and have the keyes of the Kingdome of Great Brittaine, hanging at the doores of your Honourable Se∣nate House. Oh, let all the gates and doores of the Kingdome, and of all the Counties; Cities, Parishes in it, be set wide open, That the King of Glory may come in. The eyes of many thousands in the Land, and a great part of Christendome too, are now upon you; you are in the hearts of all the Saints in all the Churches, espe∣cially those at home, who are ready to live and dye with you, and what is their expectation and desire other then this, That Christ may raigne as an All-Commanding King, over his owne house; That Doctrin, Worship, Government, may be all exact, according to the Patterne in the Mount. Helpe on this much-desired Work.

1: By setting a faithful, pious, and learned Ministery. Be not Page  65 offended that I touch upon this string once more. How meane ap∣prehensions soever any may have of this great Ordinance of God, Preaching of the Gospell, yet it is no other thing then the Scepter of Christs Kingdome, the Royall Mace that is lifted up and born before him, his triumphing chariot, in which he rides conquering and to conquer, Revel. 6.2. God is wont to hang the greatest weights upon the smallest wires,*The Salvation of the world depends upon this foolishnesse of preaching, 1 Cor. 1.21. Blessed be God, he hath given us his Word, and if we could but adde what is next in the Psal. 68.11. Great is the multitude of them that publish it, Sathan would soone fall downe like lightning, and we should have an heaven upon earth. We are zealous against Babylon, and its well that we are so: I will shew you a way how to storme downe the proud walls and battlements of it without any Petards or Cannon shot or Engines of warre, not so much need of these; The sound of Rammes hornes will serve the turne. Revel. 14.6. When the Angell flyes in the midst of heaven, with an everlasting Gospell to Preach: the next Newes is, vers. 8. Babylon is fallen. This preaching, it will be the ruine of the man of sin: it will spring a Myne under his Thron, and beat down all his power and glory into the dust.

2. If you would have a learned consciencious ministry, do as Hezekiah, Command the people to give the Priests and Levites their portion, that they may be incouraged in the Law of the Lord, 2 Chron. 31.4. Let there be due provision of oyle, for all the Lamps of the Sanctuary, and let there be worthy incouragements for all the se∣verall professions of learning, especially the sacred. If learning should decay, as some (I hope without ground) feare it will, what can we looke for but an Inundation of Popery, Atheisme, pro∣phanenesse, sects, heresies, with all manner of Barbarity. In the memory of our Fathers, when it pleased the Lord to raise up Lu∣ther, Melancton, Calvin, and many other choyce spirits; it was unto the Churches, even like unto a resurrection from the dead: the Resurrection of learning brought with it a resurrection of Religi∣on, and a fresh spring of the Gospell, which, blessed be God, con∣tinues still, and flourishes to this day.

3 But now that I have made mention of learning, I may not without piacular neglect passe over the two Seminaries and seed-plots of it, without a word or two. It was a sad complaint of Luther, against most of the Universities of Europe, that they were Page  66 become chaires of Pestilence, and the very stewes and brothels of Antichrist.* God forbid that any should harbour any such appre∣hension of ours. Blessed be God they have beene worthy Nur∣series and schooles of the Prophets, both of them; and I hope they will continue so still: Howsoever, it were good to cast a little more salt into these Springs, that the waters of life issuing from them may be more sweete and wholesome, and that there may be no death nor barrennesse, nor any thing causing miscarriage in them, 2 King. 29.10. The common complaint is, That the two breasts, though they be not quite dryed up, yet they yeeld neither so much milke, nor so wholesome now of late, as in former times; that it is now adulterated, and brewed with mixtures, its easie to know whence; The way to heale all, were to plant more whole∣some, heavenly, and powerfull preaching there: St. Basil tells, That when men were desirous, in his dayes, to store themselves with Doves in their houses, they tooke some of a milke white colour, and perfumed them with odours and sweete oyntments, and they flying abroad, allured home, with their sent, all they met withall: oh that we had a brood of such Doves richly perfum'd with Myrrhe, Aloes, and Cassia, men anoynted, I meane with the spirit and graces of Jesus Christ, which are more sweet and odoriferous then all the unctions else in the world. If there were some of these sent abroad into Country, City, Court, and University, how would multitudes flocke after them, like Doves into their windowes? Esay 60.8.

4. If you would have Christ raigne fully, freely, universally, all the Kingdome over, let the Reformation then which is intended, advance freely and fully, and let it be, first, thorow and exact; that no Rome be left for a throne of Sathan in any corner: we would be loath that God should put us off with halfe a deliverance, why should we put him off with halfe a reformation. 2. Let it be swift and speedy, let it not alwaies thus sticke in the birth, but give it quicke expedition and dispatch; our Saviours rule is, primum quaerite,*Mat. 6.33. Seeke first the Kingdome of God, before and a∣bove, all other things; God takes it ill, and shewes himselfe angry with the Jewes, and chides them sore for neglect of this, Hag. 1.4. Is it time for you to dwell in your cieled houses, whiles this house lyes waste? God gives us as, he did them, leave to have a due regard of our owne houses, but his worke should alwayes in order preceede Page  67 ours, as it doth in worth and dignity. Other causes may, and must waite, till that which is of greatest Importance be dispatched:* it was a worthy resolution that of Nehemiah, when the enemies sent a Trumpeter, as it were to beate for a parlee; I am, saith he, about a great worke, so that I cannot come down, why should the worke cease whiles I leave it, and come downe to you? Nehem. 6.3. A word to the wise is enough, I presse it no further.

5. Remove all the lets, Impediments, and stumbling blockes which hinder the propagation and spreading of Christs Kingdom among us, whether things or persons, whatsoever cannot shew its pedegree from heaven, out with it, what should it do amongst us; That which never came from heaven, can never be a meanes to carry us thither: the Temple of God may not be built with the materialls of Babylon, we should not take a stone from thence for a corner, nor for a foundation, Jer. 51.16. And those persons too that pretend so high for their divine originall, and cannot yet shew the Genealogy of it from the Scriptures, They should be as polluted, put from the Priesthood, Neh. 6.64. But above all the other Impedi∣ments, that which gives sourse and life unto them, and is it selfe the greatest, the faction I meane of Rome, and Antichrist, let that be removed. If you be on the Lords side, cast down Jezebel out at the windows; when that mother of whoredome and all her mer∣chants, factors, and retainers, with all their Babilonish trash and trumpery, the wares which they traffique in, is sent packing away, and cast like a mil-stone into the bottome of the Sea; then, and not before, begins that victorious and triumphant Song of the Elders, Revel. 19.6. Hallelujah, the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.

This is your worke, oh ye worthies, and to quicken you to it, consider, 1. How necessary it is, if we let slip this opportunity, in which the Kingdome of heaven seemes to come neere unto us, and to knock at our doores for admission, we are an undone people, the Lord, if not admitted now, is like never to make us such ano∣ther offer, he will take his Kingdome from us, and give it to some o∣ther Nation, that will bring forth the fruits thereof, Math. 21.43.

The uncleane spirit, which is in a good measure cast out, will returne againe, and bring along seven other worse ones with it, to take possession of the whole Kingdome, and so our condition will be worse then ever it was.

2. Its a glorious prize that we are called to be violent for, It is a Page  68 Kingdome, and who would not straine hard for such a booty, which once obtained, will more then countervaile all our care and cost,* our zeale and violence for it. The heathen man thought it great reason to offer violence even to Justice and Conscience, if it were for a Kingdome. In other things he would have respect to just and right, but if a kingdome lay at the stake, and might be won, he held it no discretion to be over conscientious, I commend not his resolution in this, our Rule is, Fiat Justitia & ruat caelum, let Justice be done, though the heavens fall; we must be violent to keepe faith and a good conscience, not to put them from us, and this is the way to make us all Kings and Priests unto our God; they are of the family of heaven, and of the blood Royall, that are thus affected, Revel. 19.26. Christ at his last comming to destroy Anti∣christ, is said, to have his Name written, not onely upon his vesture, but upon his thigh too, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords: Whats this 〈◊〉 a name Written upon his thigh: somewhat an unproper situation; what should a man do with a name written upon his thigh? But tis the place of generation; Jacobs 70. soules are said to come out of his thigh, and those choyce violent spirits, that fol∣low Christ,* in his warres against Antichrist, as those Armies of hea∣ven did, spoken of before vers. 14. They all came out of his thigh, were discended and propagated from him, by a divine worke of Regeneration, the Spirit of Jesus Christ refines the blood of the meanest persons, and creates them a Regall pedegree.

*3 Its an honourable thing to be violent for the honour of our God and the good of a whole Kingdome; to do good to one is honourable, said the Philosopher, but to do good to a City or Na∣tion, this is heroicall, how much more, when the honour of God and the happinesse of three Kingdomes, that I may not say of Chri∣stendom too, is infolded in one another.

Saint Paul saies, Its good to be alwayes zealously affected in a good thing, Gal. 4.16. Alwayes good, It was intended no doubt as a marke of honour, that Name which our Saviour for this cause im∣posed upon one of the Apostles, when he called him Simon Zelotes, Luke 6.15.* The more zeale we have, the more honourable we are at all times, but to be zealous for God, as Elias was in evill times, to owne his cause in an adulterous and sinfull generation, this is honou∣rable indeed; yea, and I had almost said meritorious, but howse∣ver tis thank-worthy to be sure, in an eminent degree, Luk. 22.28, 29 Page  69Ye are they that have continued with me, in my temptations, and what then, I appoint unto you a Kingdom that ye may eate and drinke at my Table, and sit on thrones; &c.* You see how well our Saviour takes it, when his servants cleave close to him, and will stand for him in his temptations. If the right hand place in his Kingdome be reser∣ved for any more then others, it shall be kept for such.

5 The contrary disposition is of it selfe base and unworthy, yea and of all other the most loathsome and abominable, Revel. 3.15, 16. Better key cold then onely lukewarme, Its an argument we nei∣ther value God nor his Kingdome, when we are so dull and heart∣lesse in our desires and endeavours, as if the purchase we are about would not quit the cost, nor be worth the paines that is required for it. When Callidius a Roman Orator, pleaded a cause very faintly,* and made no shew of affection, Tully told him that sure he was not in earnest, otherwise the tide of passion would have beene up: In like manner when men are so lazie and languishing, so cold and slack in dealing for a Kingdome, Its a shrew'd argument against them, that sure they are not in earnest, they do but play with Reli∣gion; the precious treasures of heaven are set before them, and they resent them not at all, or but a very little, make no great haste, are not a whit sollicitous, take no paines about the matter, as if the things were of no great importance; they are very moderate and delicate in making towards them, neither that high hand that holds th for t h, nor that blood that bought them, nor that worth that is in them, workes much; but all is slighted: God comes wai∣ting upon them with calls, and calls, and with gracious offers, and is not regarded; hence no doubt is this black cloud risen, which darkens the heavens over us. The glory of God and the Salvation of our soules, we do nothing many of us but jest and dally with them. I have read of Anastatius the Emperor, that he was,* by the hand of God, shot to death with a hot thunder-bolt, because he was luke-warme in the Catholique cause, and not zealous against the Arrian faction.

6. In other things where the least overture of gaine, honour, pleasure, appeares, how eager are we panting after the dust of the earth, as the Prophet speakes, and ready to run our selves out of breath for it: if a rich purchase may be made, a profitable bargaine driven, an honourable and wealthy match gotten, or any such o∣ther secular Commodity which we are affected with; oh then we Page  70 are all upon the spur, upon the wing, no haste, no alacrity, no la∣bour, or diligence is thought too much, or but enough; now there is violence upon violence, all oares and sailes, must now be ply∣ed, and shall we be thus earnest, for frivolous, unconcerning, low things, which we may have, and be never the better; want, and be never the worse; and yet carry our selves in matters of eternity, as if we were all Stoicks, and had no passions about us? Ferventissimi in terrenis, frigidissimi in caelestibus, shall we be red hot as fire for earth, and key cold as any Ice for heaven?

7. If all this will not move, looke upon wicked men, how vio∣lent a bent have they to sinne, Their hearts are fully set to doe mis∣chiefe, Eccles. 9.3. They inflame themselves, with Idols, Esay 57.5. They are as swift Dromedaries traversing their waies, Jer. 2.23. Their whole force is evill,*and their course not right, Jer. 23.10. How vio∣lent were the Israelites for their Idolatry, when they offered their sonnes and daughters unto Devills, Deut. 32.17. Had they so much devotion for Idols, and have we so little for the true God? what care did they not take? what cost did they not cast away, when they made haste, as David hath it, to poure out meate and drink of∣ferings, to another God? Psal. 16.4. and shall we esteeme our true God and Religion at such a low under-hand rate, as if gold and sil∣ver were too deare and precious then to be offered up upon the sacrifice and service of them? as if hell and lyes were pearles never over-bought, but truth and heaven meere trash and nothing worth; since they would doe any thing, for the one, and we nothing for the other.

8. Looke upon your enemies, how more then Hyperbolically violent they are, in carrying on their designe of Rome and Hell; how furious is their march? how resolute are their spirits? how quick their endeavours? how do they compasse sea and land, to Spaine, France, Holland, Denmarke, whither do they not dispatch their Emissarie? what vaste treasures do they not lay out, what expence of blood do they stick at, what stones do they not roll? what conclusions do they not try? what project have they not hammered? what corner of the earth have they not searched, even till hell from beneath was moved to meete them; and all to drive their desperate and pernicious designe, to cast downe, if it were possible, Jesus Christ out of his Throne, and to set up Belze∣bub in his roome; hedging, fencing, planting, watering, what Page  71 could they have done more for that wilde vine, that false Antichri∣stian Religion and Church, which is the vine of the earth, and not of heaven, it having no rooting, growth, nor blessing thence? Rev. 14.11. If there be any to whom the Syrens voyce sounds sweete: Heark what Father Campian professeth of himselfe and his fellow Jesuites, Quamdiu vel vnus quispiam e nobis supererit, qui Tiburno vestro fruatur, fruatur, that is his word, whiles there was any of them left to enjoy a Tyburn tippet, as old Bishop Latimer was wont to speak, whiles any of them remained for the gallowes, torment, and imprisonment, they vowed never to desist nor let fall their weather-beaten cause: and what shall we be coole and mo∣derate, when they are so extreame violent? Acrius illi ad perniciem quam nos ad salutem, Shall they be more zealous to procure their owne and others destruction, temporall and eternall, then we for our owne and others Salvation?

9 If we be resolute, we shall prevaile and carry away the prize which we are contending for: This should have been a doctrine en∣tire of it felfe: I onely touch it, and but lightly too, as a motive to quicken us up. What will not men do upon uncertaine, and often, most unlikely hopes, to advantage themselves; but we have this hope as an Anchor, sure and stedfast, That if we be violent for it, this Kingdome is ours; none can hinder us of it, such as sell all, shall have the pearle, Mat. 13.44. Those that shrinke not from Christ in his temptations for feare of the Crosse, when he comes in his glory, they shall sit upon thrones, and raigne with him, Luke 22.28. and for the publique cause, now depending, whiles we continue faithfull with, and stout for God, feare not the issue; let the oppositions be what they will, all those great Mountaines before Zerubbabel, shall be∣come a plaine, Zach. 4.8. The Lord reignes, though the earth be ne∣ver so unquiet, he will bring about his designe, when men and de∣vills have done their worst. What though the pillars of the Land tremble, and all the foundations of it shake, as in an earth quake;* what though we be in danger whiles we are so violent for heaven, to lose all we have on earth, as the Orator sometimes told the Athe∣nians, yet we shall not have an haires harme, If we serve our God with reverence and godly feare, we shall receive a Kingdome, that cannot be shaken, Heb. 12.28. Unto the which God of his infinite mercy bring us, through the Merits of Christ Jesus, who hath purchased it for us, To whom, &c.

FINIS.